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EARLY HOMESTEADS 



of 



POMFRET and HAMPTON 



by Susan J. Griggs 




Without oxen the wilderness could 
not have been conquered. 



Dedicated to the memory of my husband, Alfred G. 
Griggs, and the happy hours we spent together in research 
and locating old homesteads. 

The collection of pictures and material for this book 
was begun in 1934. Early views of homesteads have been 
used as far as possible so as to retain the original lines of 
architecture. 

If there are some omissions, I am truly sorry, as the 
book has been written through a desire to perpetuate old 
homes. 



S.J.G. 



Abington 
Nov. 14, 1949 



Copyright 1950 

by 
Susan J. Griggs 



FOREWORD 



The inspiration to write FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES IN POM- 
FRET AND HAMPTON came from hearing the older inhabitants 
talk of the King's Highway, a section of grassy road which in sections 
has become over-grown with brush, and nearly obliterated except for 
the ruts of the old road-bed. 

History tells us that "from time immemorial it has been a trail, the 
laying-out of it being unknown." Over this trail the first white man 
trod, his pack on his back, seeking a new home in the wilderness. The 
pioneers called it the "way to Woodstock." 

From tracing the old highway, your author has gathered folklore 
which is the nucleus of these stories. Facts and dates came from the 
hallowed pages of history, research of town records and genealogies, 
excursions into neglected burying-grounds where time and the elements 
have nearly erased humble names and reverent inscriptions, or where 
lilacs, roses, and tiger lilies mark the site of early dwellings. 

A valuable map, published in Hartford in 1856, giving not only the 
highways of Windham County, but locating the dwellings of the in- 
habitants of that day, has been copied for use in this book. 

The Author 

Susan Jewett Griggs 



HISTORICAL BACKGROUND 

THE AMERICAN INDIAN 

A race whose ancient lineage Columbus found this country 

Goes back through countless years— An ancient tribal land 

And research for its origin Inhabited by many tribes 

A futile task appears. Each ruled by Chief command; 

Each mountain, lake, and river known 
And named— no spot untrod 
For just how many centuries 
Is only known to God. 

(Author Unknown) 



ANCIENT ABORIGINES 



Early or aboriginal names of Windham County's rivers, lakes, hills, 
trails, and forts,— and the Praying Indians. 

Lakes: Pagqutuck, and Mashapaug (Alexander's Lake, Killingly) 

Rivers: Quinebaug, Shetucket, Nachaug, Pachaug, Moosup, Masha- 
moquet, Tatnick Brook (Brooklyn), Assawaga (Five Mile River), Cow- 
sick (Blackwell's Brook), Wapaqunas Brook. 

Hills: Ekonk, Waungatatuck, Obwesatuck, Quinnebasset, Mashen- 
tuck, and Tatnick Hill (Brooklyn), which according to tradition, re- 
ceived its name from an Indian tribe, the Tatnicks. 

Forts: When the white man came, he found a few scattered forts 
on different hills at Quinnatissit (Thompson), Wabbaquasset (Wood- 
stock), Mashamoquet (Pomfret), and on Tatnick Hill (Brooklyn). Two 
very ancient forts, according to archaeologists, have been uncovered on 
the western slope of this beautiful hill that rises five-hundred and forty 
feet, commanding a fine view of the surrounding country, extending 
westerly beyond the old Nipmuck Trail, which the early settlers called 
the "way to Woodstock," or the "King's Highway." 

Trails: The Greenwich Path, from the Quinebaug through Can- 
terbury; and the Nipmuck Path. The main trail led from the sea to the 
far distant Nipmuck country in Brookfield, passing through Canterbury 
and Brooklyn, Pomfret and Woodstock. Among the Nipmucks, on the 
shores of Lake Quinsigamond (Worcester) lived several tribes known 
as Tatnicks. 

Praying Indians: The apostle, John Eliot, began his work for the 
natives in 1647, establishing Indian Churches among the Tatnicks. This 
mission led him through the wilds to Quinnatisset and Wabbaquasset 
(Woodstock), where he preached the gospel on Pulpit Rock, his con- 
gregation seated on the hillside. Several villages of Praying Indians 
were scattered or murdered during the war of 1675. A decade later, 
the white man came and possessed the land. 



CONNECTICUT PATH 



THE CONNECTICUT PATH 



The task of locating the Connecticut Path has quickened consider- 
able interest. It is known that after the Path crossed the Narrows at 
Webster Lake, it ran southwesterly to Thompson, through Woodstock 
to Ci'ystal Lake, vanishing and reappearing through the woodlands, 
meadows and fields, occasionally appearing near the present highway. 
Fortunately through the centuries there have remained three ancestral 
homesteads where the traditions and landmarks have been carefully 
preserved, as at the Chandler Fann in West Thompson, the Edward 
Arnold homestead in Fabyan, and the Walter Bennett farm near Crystal 
Lake. 

Perhaps one of the most interesting landmarks is identified at the 
Bennett fording place. The dark water still flows swiftly between the 
stepping stones conveniently placed centuries ago for crossing the stream. 
Down the gently sloping bank where the trail wound, and over this ford 
passed in 1635 the Rev. Thomas Hooker and his congregation driving 
with them their flocks and horses to their new settlement in the wilder- 
ness. Over this same brook the invalid Mrs. Hooker was carried on a 
litter, perhaps swung between two long poles dragged by a horse through- 
out the long journey, although old illustrations show a picture of Mrs. 
Hooker in a square litter on the back of a horse, a litter large enough 
for her to lie down. 

Apparently this deep- trodden path was never wide enough to allow 
two horsemen to ride abreast, nor was it ever improved for a cart, for it 
was discontinued through Windham County by 1725. 

The first white man known to have used the Path was John Oldham, 
with three companions, in 1633. 

IN THE BEGINNING 

To better understand the beginning of our first settlements, the fol- 
lowing is quoted from Larned's History of Windham County: "The 
whole Wabbaquasset counti7 was yielded by Massachusetts to the claim 
of Uncas, who, favored by the government and encouraged by interested 
advisors, assumed to himself a large share of eastern Connecticut. The 
tract confirmed to him as the hereditai^ territory of the Mohegans was 
bounded on the north by a line running from Mahmunsook on Whet- 
stone Brook to the junction of the Quinebaug and Assawaga at Acquiunk, 
thence westward to the Willimantic and far beyond it. The Wabba- 
quasett country was held by him as a Pequot conquest. It extended 
from the Mohegan north bound far into Massachusetts, and westward 
from the Quinebaug to a line running through the 'great pond Snipsic', 
now in Tolland. This large tract was given by Uncas to his second son, 
Owaneco, while the land between the Appaquage and Willimantic Rivers 
was assigned by him to his third son, Joshua or Atawanahood, sachem of 
the Western Niantics. Joshua died in May, 1676, from injuries received 
during the Narragansett war, and left a will, bequeathing the land 



6 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

between the Willimantic and Appaquage to Captain John Mason and 
fifteen other gentlemen, 'in trust for a plantation'. His estate was 
settled according to the terms of the will. The General Assembly of 
Connecticut allowed the Norwich legatees the lands bequeathed to them 
at Appaquage, which, as soon as practicable, were incorporated as the 
township of Windham." 

Many were the land grabbers who were anxious to obtain holdings 
in this vast teiTitory. Leader among them was Major James Fitch, son 
of the Reverend James Fitch, the first minister of Norwich. His in- 
fluence among the Indians was considerable, and he was readily made 
guardian over Owaneco, who had become the "cat's-paw" of the white 
man— selling his vast acres for drinks of cider, becoming at last a penni- 
less drunkard, begging with his wife from door to door. History tells 
us that "the once sachem of the Wabbaquassets, second son of Uncas, 
and claimant, by right of conquest, of the greater part of Windham 
County, once flattered by the foremost men of the country, went, a 
drunken vagabond, about the country that had once been the vast 
hunting ground of his tribe, praying for charity." 

In 1697, Major James Fitch was the most popular man in eastern 
Connecticut. Through his influence, he obtained from the Indians 
many thousands of acres from which to choose a home; the site, "a neck 
of land" enclosed by a cun^e of the Quinebaug River, below the river 
island Peagscomsuck, which gave the name to the settlement. There 
he dug the first cellar, and erected the first permanent home in Canter- 
bury. 

He was a little past middle life at the time. Nine sons and daughters 
had accompanied him into this wilderness. His plantation was at once 
recognized as a place of consequence. Civil and military officials and 
hordes of Indians made his plantation a rendezvous; court was held 
there and business transacted. For a long time, it was the only settle- 
ment between Norwich and Woodstock. The expedition that marched 
to the relief of Woodstock in 1699 passed the night there both coming 
and going. 

In the summer of 1696 a band of Mohawks murdered a family 
at Oxford, where a boulder now marks the site of their home. The 
mother, a Mrs. Johnson, sole survivor of the tragedy, reached Woodstock 
town. In their alarm, the people sent a messenger to Major Fitch, 
seeking aid. Leaving Woodstock at daybreak, the messenger arrived at 
the Major's home in Canterbury at an early hour, in time for the Major 
to hasten to Norwich and gather a band of English and Indians. With 
his brother Daniel and this company he reached Woodstock the next 
day at sunrise. He scouted the country at this time as far as Worcester, 
but was unable to find the enemy. 

Woodstock's village of Praying Indians was definitely located at 
South Woodstock, on the William Basto farm, by Arthur Basto, in 1934. 
Here is the site of their corn fields, and it is believed that the corn taken 
by the Wabbaquassett Indian, Acquittimaug, to Boston for food for that 
infant colony in 1630, was grown on these grounds. 



MASHAMOQUET 7 

Acquittimaug, with his father and others, carried great sacks on 
their backs on the long trek through the wilderness, selling their com 
at a good price to the Winthrop colony, when there was yet only one 
cellar in the town, and that near the common. When Boston had grown 
to a thriving city he again visited it, and was the honored guest of the 
chief dignitaries of Massachusetts. 

In 1684, Major James Fitch, guided by the Mohegan Sachem, 
Owaneco, had explored the vast forests of the Wabbaquassett and Nip- 
muck countries, receiving from Owaneco a native title to nearly all of 
the area which is now Windham County. 

Out of this tract the town of Pomfret was purchased in 1686 for 
thirty pounds. This first tract was bounded southwesterly by its longest 
brook, the Mashamoquet, which gave the Purchase its name. By 1713, 
other tracts had been added, extending the southern boundary to Gray 
Mare Hill in Brooklyn, and east to the Quinebaug River. Later, through 
land additions, Pomfret included all Brooklyn that was then called 
Mortlake, and the northern section of Canterbury, which was known 
as South Pomfret — later, Canterbury's North Society. 

Because of Indian troubles no effort was made to settle the Masha- 
moquet Purchase before 1694, when an equal division was made be- 
tween the twelve shareholders in upland, lowland, and meadows. The 
meadows were most prized because of the hay easily obtained for oxen 
and cattle. In the division of land, James Fitch had given them "short 
measure," and to adjust the matter satisfactorily, he gave an "Equivalent 
to the original contract," the large section west and south of the Masha- 
moquet in Abington. In this second division of land each of the twelve 
proprietors received his allotted four hundred acres. Among these 
proprietors were: Esther Grosvenor, Samuel Ruggles, Thomas Mowry, 
John Ruggles, John Gore, Samuel Gore's heirs, John Chandler, Ben- 
jamin Sabin, Thomas and Elizabeth Ruggles, John White, Joseph Grif- 
fin, Benjamin and Daniel Dana. 

The Dana family came to America in 1640 to escape religious per- 
secution. Descendants of the first twelve families now living in Pomfret 
are: the Grosvenors, the Sabins, the Whites, the Chandlers, and the 
Sharpes. 

Pomfret was incorporated in 1713. 

MASHAMOQUET 

Three streams in Pomfret are still known by their Indian names, 
the Wappaquans, that flows in a southeasterly direction past the South 
burying ground and through the Golf Course; the Newichewanna, that 
rises in the Brooklyn hills and flows south to the Mashamoquet; and the 
Mashamoquet, Pomfret's largest brook, signifying "Good Fishing." It 
flows in a southeasterly direction, encircling many of the 15,100 acres 
which the twelve proprietors purchased of Major Fitch, in 1686. 

Owing to Indian troubles, no effort was made to settle the Pur- 
chase for several years. Until 1694 this land was divided into equal 



8 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

plots among the twelve shareholders, in upland, lowland and meadows. 
The latter were most highly prized because of the hay easily obtained 
from them for oxen and cattle. In the division it was found that Fitch 
had given them "short measure." This was adjusted by taking land 
that belonged to Fitch in what is now the Abington section, "equiv- 
land" to the original contract, thus a second division of land was made 
south and west of the Mashamoquet, that each might receive his al- 
lotted 400 acres. 

The twelve proprietors of the Mashamoquet Purchase to whom the 
plots were allotted were, Esther Grosvenor, Thomas Mowry, John 
Ruggles, John Gore, Samuel Gore's heirs, Samuel Ruggles, John Chand- 
ler, Benjamin Sabin, Jacob, Benjamin and Daniel Dana, Thomas and 
Elizabeth Ruggles, John White and Joseph Griffin. 

The western section of the Purchase was made accessible to Bos- 
ton and Hartford, and Norwich and New London by the Old Post 
Road running east and west, and the Nipmuck Path, running north 
and south. These two primitive roads crossed at the first four comers 
on Ragged Hill, near the old Chandler Schoolhouse. The Nipmuck 
Path which ran southwesterly from Woodstock to the distant town of 
Norwich formed the eastern boundary of Windham, and by 1694 had 
become the white man's highway. After King Philip's War had scat- 
tered the Indian tribes it was then known as "ye Windham Rode," 
and soon along its primitive way early pioneer fires were lighted. 

In the division of plots Mrs. Esther Grosvenor chose some of the 
finest land on Pomfret Hill, and also a tract of land in the Ragged Hill 
section, on the Post Road. 

A second trail, from Brookfield to New London crossed the Boston- 
Hartford trail west of the old Randall farm, Eastford line. This was the 
trail called the "Way to Woodstock"; later surveyed, was the "King's 
Highway." 

The three hundred acre plot owned by John Chandler east of 
the fording place over the Mashamoquet, where for centuries the red 
man's path had crossed the brook (at the foot of Hamlet Hill Road), 
was sold out at an early date to settlers. Nathaniel Sessions purchased 
100 acres in 1704, comprising the Butler estate and Westland Farm. 
In 1705 Richard Dresser bought 100 acres west of the Sessions' after 
building a house northeast of the present building, and making some 
clearing. He sold the property the following year to Abiel Lyon, whose 
deed, recorded in the Worcester Registry, reads "Abiel Lyon of the 
Mashamoquet Colony." Lyon also purchased the land upon the brook 
south of the bridge, where he built the first saw mill in Pomfret. 

But Sessions and Lyon were not the first settlers in this locality. 
Before 1700 Chandler transfeired a section of this tract to the Dana 
Brothers. In 1698 they sold to Benjamin Sitton "fifty acres of wilder- 
ness land, at a place called Mashamoquet, bounded west by the Wind- 
ham Rode" (Larned's History). His purchase may have included the 
former Fay property, between L. L. Crosby and the Bernard Kelly farm. 
Of Sitton we know little. He is mentioned in the founding of Pomfret 



FIRST MASHAMOQUET SETTLERS 9 

Church Society, and built for his family a pew in the meetinghouse. 
He was one of the thirty families mentioned as being without protection 
from Indian attack in 1702. 

Nipmuck Path, or Windham Road, crossed the heights of Hamlet 
Hill, the western boundary of the Chandler Plot. This once cultivated 
tract has again returned to the wilderness. On the Fay lot are unmis- 
takable traces of a pioneer homestead, where a caved-in cellar and filled- 
in well bear silent testimony, together with a walled-up spring of run- 
ning water on the slope of the hill nearby. The deep marsh lands in 
the eastern valley, which supplied hay for cattle, and the walled-in 
spaces, once fertile fields, all tell the oft repeated tale of forgotten home- 
steads. Marsh lands are now flooded by Fay's Pond. 

The Path passed Whetstone Spring, where the Indians obtained 
whetstone for knives and hatchets. 

Fay Pond received its name from Miss Sarah Fay of Cape Cod and 
Pomfret, who lived at the present Seeley-Brown place. She purchased 
the tract to preserve the forest, and laid out the road. 

FIRST SETTLERS BY THE MASHAMOQUET 

One of the oldest homesteads in Pomfret is the place now owned 
by L. L. Crosby, for two hundred years in the Trowbridge family. In 
1856 it appears on the map in the name of Jerome Pike, a descendant 
of Daniel Trowbridge, pioneer, who came into the wilderness at twenty 
in 1731, with his stepfather, Joseph Bowman, from Dorchester, Mass. 
Bowman purchased a wild tract near the Eastford line, near the Stowells, 
at the summit of Pisgah Hill. For helping his stepfather clear this farm, 
Trowbridge received six months off his time, and was able to go out 
for himself. The Bowman farm is still known as a Trowbridge place. 

Daniel Trowbridge bought the improved 100 acre farm of Abel 
Lyon, which had been under cultivation from 1705. The first owner, 
Richard Dresser, had sold to Lyon. Lyon had built a one-story plank 
house, about 30 x 15, which Trowbridge moved from the clay pits to 
the highway to become the kitchen ell of the present large square 
dwelling, which dates back to 1733. This ell stood until within the 
last decade. 

Abel Lyon built the first sawmill in Pomfret in 1707 on the Masha- 
moquet, a short distance below where the highway crosses the brook 
on Route 97, bringing tools into the wilderness on his back. Pomfret 
soon built a road to his mill. 

Sawmills were a New England invention. Scarcity of labor made 
hand-sawing in saw pits impossible, altho it was done in England 
until after the Revolution. The up-and-down saw of the first mills 
was operated on the hand saw principal. 

A ford was maintained near the mill until 1732, when the first 
cart bridge was built, and a road laid out southwesterly through Abing- 
ton. A year later a schoolhouse was built across the bridge near the 
present gate of the Goodridge estate. 



10 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

Abel Lyon was one of the founders of the Abington Society, giving 
the first pulpit, costing one hundred dollars. He had ten children, 
and several of his sons were soldiers in the Indian Wars, Spanish- 
American Wars, and the Revolution. His youngest son, Jonathan, 
born after his death, was educated at Dartmouth by Rev. Walter Lyon. 
He was in Congress with Daniel Webster. 

When Abel Lyon sold his homestead to Daniel Trowbridge he 
built a house nearer his mill, now the property of John Kelly. Originally 
this house had a great stone chimney in the center, and a long, low 
lean-to in the back. 

When Abel Lyon brought his bride, Judith Farmington, into the 
wilderness, settlers were few. Families had taken homesteads on the 
Woodstock Line, and the east side of the Purchase. The Goodells 
had settled on Easter Hill, Abington. The Lyon's nearest neighbor 
may have been Benjamin Sitton. 

PIONEER LIFE 

The pioneer cabin usually stood in a clearing so small that only 
a patch of blue sky showed above it. The small windows were pro- 
vided with bark shutters and, like the door, swung on strap hinges; 
if there was a floor it was made of puncheon (split log); often a great 
flat stump was left for a table, and the cabin built around it. 

A platform two feet high was built by the wall, for bunks, when 
filled with hemlock boughs and the skins of animals, provided a bed 
that was considered healthy, if not luxurious. 

The forest provided the wooden trenchers (which took the place 
of dishes), wooden spoons, noggins (a wooden mug with a handle, 
made by the Indians out of solid maple knots). 

The virgin soil (once it had been cleared and burned over) yielded 
bountifully, in return for the arduous labor with grub hoe and adz— 

WEST POMFRET CENTER 1 

1. Map — S. Cooper. Ebenezer Holbrook homestead 1749. Owned by Horace 
Seeley-Brown. 

2. Pomfret's Revolutionary Elms (April 1775) on Seeley-Brown property. See 
Holbrook. 

3. Map — D. Trowbridge. Abel Lyon homestead. Owned by John Kelly. 

4. Map — Jerome Pike. Daniel Trowbridge homestead. Settled 1705 by Richard 
Dresser. Said to be second oldest house in town. Owned by L. L. Crosby. 

5. Map — D. Sherman. Trowbridge farm on Pomfret-Eastford line. Trowbridge 
family came to Dorchester, Mass. in 1636. James (1740-1820) lived on this 400 
acre tract and reared twelve children. Was able to leave $2000 ix> each child, 
besides a "setting out." Was a pillar in Eastford Church. Family attended so 
regularly, the neighbors were able to set their clocks by the passing of the 
"Trowbridge Band" on way to meeting. (Genealogy) Broad fields of this farm 
were used for parade grounds. Owned by Edward Geer. 

6. Map — David Clapp. "Westland Farm," owned by St. Roberts Hall. 

7. Map — Asa Dennis. Owned by Col. E. B. Dennis. 

8. Map — G. Williams. Goodridge Estate, built by Elizabeth Pierpont Morgan 
1790. One of three first mansions in Pomfret. House burned, and farm owned by 
Robert Rourke. 



12 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

a relentless task, between rocks and the roots of the fallen trees. 

When winter came the pioneer would have a chopping-bee, when 
all the strong men from miles away came at an early hour and with 
powerful blows attacked the great trees. A favorite way was to bring 
the day's work to a climax in what was called a "drive." This was done 
by chopping half-way into the trunk of each tree, until a wide circle 
of trees in the center group had all been half cut through (this was 
called "undercutting"). Then, with a few powerful and well-driven 
blows at the monarch of the group on the outward side of the circle 
and a few concerted pulls with a rope, the entire group of trees would 
be felled together. With his wide spreading branches the leader would 
bring down the trees in front of him; they, with their neighbors, would 
fall with a crash that shook the ground, making the distant hillsides 
ring. In a moment all the landscape would be changed. Where stood 
a gieat forest, now lay windrows of tree tops. 

It was slow w^ork, this clearing of the land, and only through colonial 
neighborliness in log-rolling and stone-pulling bees was it accomplished. 
The hard stony fields of New England would have defied a lifetime of 
one man and a single yoke of oxen, without cooperation. 

Pioneers pounded their com into meal in a primitive mortar 
made froin a hollowed block of wood or stump of a tree which had been 
cut out three feet above the ground. The pestle was a heavy block of 
wood shaped like the inside of the mortar and fitted with a handle on 
one side. The pestle was attached to a young sapling, conveniently 
near, giving a spring which pulled the pestle up and down. The 
rhythmic thump of this sweep-and-mortar mill could be heard a long 
way. After these simple stump and sapling mortars were abandoned 
elsewhere, they were still used on Long Island, and it was a saying that 
sailors lost on the Sound in a fog could hear the thump of the mortar 
mill and know on which shore they were. 

Samp and samp porridge was the common dish. Indian corn 
pounded into a coarse powder is described by Roger Williams, who 
wrote "New samp is a kind of meal porridge unparched. This the Eng- 
lish call their samp, which is Indian corn, beaten, boiled, and eaten 
hot or cold, with milk and butter. It is a diet exceedingly wholesome 
for English bodies." Roger Williams said that "sukquattahhash" was 
corn seethed with beans, meaning our dish called "succotash." Pump- 
kins were another food upon which the pioneer housewife relied. "It 
was the fruit that the Lord fed his people with, till corn and cattle 
encreaced." 

One Colonial poet gives the golden vegetable this tribute: "We 
have pumpkins at morning and pumpkins at noon. If it were not for 
pumpkins we should be undone." From the Indians the pioneers 
learned to dry pumpkins for winter use. Pumpkin, stewed and mixed 
with corn meal, was used in bread. It was even used as sweetening in- 
stead of molasses. We read of Thanksgiving dinners when mince pies 
were made of bear's meat and dried pumpkin, sweetened with maple 
sugar. The pie crust was made of com meal. 



FOLKLORE and FIRESIDES 



of 



POMFRET and VICINITY 




Putnam Wolf Den 
Winter of 1942-1943 



CHAPTER I 



CONNECTICUT 

"What land is that so nicely bound 
By Massachusetts and the Sound 
Rhode Island and New York around 
Where Yankees thick as hops are found? 
Connecticut 

What land is that where folks are said 
To be so scrupulously bred 
To be so steady habited; 
Where hearty boys and girls are fed 
On punkin pies and ginger bread? 
Connecticut 

What land is that where parsons live, 
Where men hear gospel and believe, 
Where humble sinners seek reprieve, 
Where women stay at home and weave, 
Nor gad without their husbands leave? 
Connecticut." 



By Mrs. Fred Dayton, in the New Haven 
Connecticut Register 1860. 



POMFRET 



On January 22, 1673, twenty-five years before the settlement of 
Pomfret, a lone Post-rider had left New York with the first mail for 
Boston, traversing the Westchester trail to New Haven and thence to 
Hartford where he had made his first change of horses; he crossed the 
river to Springfield, followed the river down to East Hartford, then over 
the wilderness trail Hooker had followed in 1633, through wilds to 
Boston — at times blazing new paths, as from Ashford to Douglas where 
he again followed the Connecticut Path. It required a month to make 
the round trip. On this trail Captain John Sabin built his stockade and 
house in Pomfret, in 1698. 



16 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

TRADITION OF CAPTAIN KIDD 

In 1689, when Captain Kidd was returning with booty from the 
Indian Ocean — being sought on the charge of piracy by the British — 
he fled over the New York and Boston Post Road. Passing through 
Coventry, the story goes, his "coach" broke down, being too heavily 
laden with a chest of gold and silver. He buried the chest in Coventry, 
where it was later recovered by his associates. 

It was twenty-five years after the opening of the Post Road for the 
mails, and it is doubtful that the path was more than a cart trail; so 
Kidd could not have been traveling by coach, as coaches were not used 
in early colonial times because of the unsettled state of the roads. 
Coaches were not used until late in the eighteenth century. In 1789 it 
took a week to travel from New York to Boston, "the coaches often 
sticking fast in the mud." Ox carts were the usual mode of traveling, 
when moving heavy loads. 



AN HISTORIC FIELD 

On the east side of Pomfret Street — now the main highway 
(Route 44) — at the top of Pomfret Hill, once stood the first meeting- 
house, the Sabbathday house, the burying place, the training field, and 
the schoolhouse. Just north of the meeting house was the town pound, 
for impounding straying animals until claimed by their owners. 

Pomfret cattle were branded with "P", Woodstock's with a "W"— 
each town taking its initial letter as a brand. "Cattle were King," at 
that early date; wealth was counted by their numbers. Though many 
were killed by wolves and Indians, they multiplied rapidly. 

The first schoolhouse was "set up" in 1723 "to stand north of the 
pound within ten rods of it." It was twenty-four by nineteen feet with 
seven foot studs. By 1726 a second schoolhouse was built by the "sign 
post." The second schoolhouse built in this site is now owned by Mr. 
Quigley (near the Catholic church). 

By 1733 Pomfret had four schools, one by the "sign post" — one 
at the end of Samuel Dana's lane— which was down Pomfret Hill; one 
at the corner of the old Quaker Road (moved many years ago to be- 
come the primary room of the present Gilbert Pratt School— named for 
Gilbert Pratt who taught for thirty-five years in this school, resigning 
in 1934); one by Noah Upton's place later named the Gary school; 
and one west of the Mashamoquet Brook, "just over the bridge at Lyon's 
Mills." It probably stood near the gate to the Dr. Goodrich estate. 

The fate of the first little schoolhouse near the pound is not re- 
corded, but it probably was discontinued. Much as our forefathers 
believed in learning, they gave no attention to making the schools at- 
tractive, Schoolhouses were set on bleak locations, with no playgrounds 



AN HISTORIC FIELD 17 

or outhouses provided — no trees or shrubs to break the wind in win- 
ter, or the sun in summer. A pioneer schoolhouse was poorly lighted, 
rarely with more than two small windows on each side of the building 
and two small windows, separated by a "porch," in the front. A great 
stone chimney was built at the rear of the house, and the wide-mouthed 
fireplace, with its blazing log fire brought cheer into a room where the 
inner walls were fringed with desks before which were backless benches, 
made of slabs and held up by unbarked saplings. 

Pomfret Street, which was covered with a growth of wild grass 
like rye, was known as "White's Plain." 

In those rugged days there was little time to think of comforts. 
Dwellings also were barnlike in structure, devoid of paint, without 
shade trees. Not until after 1800 were homes made attractive. 

School funds were obtained by a provision of the town, until the 
Brooklyn and Abington Societies were set off; thereafter, each ecclesias- 
tical society made its own provision to maintain its schools, along with 
the ministry. From Litchfield County a small school fund was also ob- 
tained from the sale of lands, the annual interest of which was appro- 
priated for that use. A hundred years later, monies obtained from the 
sale of lands in the Ohio region were appropriated for common school 
maintenance. 

In 1795 General Moses Cleveland of Canterbury commanded an 
expedition sent by the Land Company to survey and settle the Western 
Reserve (New Connecticut), and there founded the City of Cleveland, 
Ohio, which was named in his honor. 

The Pomfret meetinghouse, raised April 27, 1714, fronted the 
south; a great door opened on a middle aisle leading to a high pulpit 
opposite the entrance. A small door in the west end provided a sec- 
ond entrance. The room was lighted by nine windows, four on the 
lower floor, and five in the galleries where negroes sat. The "peers" 
of the church occupied the pews. 

Deacon Nathaniel Gary built the only Sabba-day house in the 
County. At one end was a stone fireplace; at the other end, the horses 
were stabled during meeting. This house was a real haven to the half- 
frozen congregation that weekly warmed itself before the log fire. But 
a less cheering sight was the whipping post and blocks standing near- 
by, where people were punished for misdemeanors that are considered 
petty today. A man was not apt to be punished for drunkenness, as 
his condition was "Blamed" to the liquor. It is said that some were so 
strict in keeping the Sabbath that they honestly thought it was because 
cider "worked" on Sunday that it made men drunk. 

All males over sixteen were trained for military duty on the broad 
field north of the church. 

The first burying ground was little used, as the early settlement 
was very healthy. In five years there were but three deaths, all infants. 
In 1719 a new burying ground was provided (the present south cemetery) 
on the Wappaquans Brook. Joseph Griffin, one of the early proprietors, 



18 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

was the first to be inteiTed there, in 1723. The first burying place 
became unused and neglected. The Dana Road (east) cut into the bank. 
As late as 1800, the ends of some of the boxes could be seen on the 
hillside. 



REVEREND EBENEZER WILLIAMS 

Mr. Williams was twenty-five when he came to Pomfret in 1713. 
He was the son of Samuel Williams of Roxbury, Massachusetts, and a 
nephew of Reverend John Williams of the Deerfield massacre (who was 
taken captive by the Indians in the French and Indian war). A grad- 
uate of Harvard, he was considered a scholarly man, and many young 
men of Pomfret were tutored by him. 

The first six months of his stay in Pomfret, he boarded at Cap- 
tain John Sabin's, the only frame house in the town. He was well liked 
and received a call to the church, which he accepted. For his services 
it was voted to pay him "sixty pounds yearly for four years, to be raised 
annually twenty schillings until it reached seventy pounds, and there 
to stand throughout his stay in Pomfret." He also received one hun- 
dred and seventy pounds towards buying his land and building his 
house. Besides this he was given two hundred acres of land which "was 
reserved for the encouragement of preaching" and deeded to him by 
James Fitch, Samuel Ruggles and other Mashamoquet proprietors. His 
two hundred acres were taken "out of the undivided portion" at the 
top of the hill above "Hyde's Hollow," now "Baker Hollow." The 
parish assisted him in clearing four acres of land, of which two acres 
were set out to orchard. 

His house-raising was a great event, as house-raising were always. 
Usually the houses were one, or one and one-half stories, constructed 
of planks, which with the boards for floors and doors came from the 
little saw mill on the Newichewanna brook, less than a mile distant. 
Usually they had four rooms, two on each floor. The front entrance 
was called a "porch." This and the great stone chimney divided the 
keeping-room and the kitchen. 

In those days the furniture was made by a cabinet maker from 
timber from the surrounding forests. Pots and pans were made at Abiel 
Cheney's blacksmith shop. The neighborhood served itself and was 
self-supporting. Wooden spoons and "noggins" made by the Indians 
(a sort of wooden bowl with a handle, made from hard maple knots) 
also were common utensils. 

It took years to collect the heirlooms which have become of such 
value in the last half-century. 

Mr. Williams' young wife came with him from Roxbury, no doubt 
riding behind him on a pillion along the hard ride by way of the Great 
Trail, the Old Connecticut Path. Young Mrs. Williams may not have 



REVEREND EBENEZER WILLIAMS 19 

had highboys and lowboys in her new home at once, but she did have 
spinning wheels, loom and carding combs, for without these she and 
her Reverend husband could not be clothed for meeting. Two years 
after accepting the charge of the parish, Mr. Williams was ordained on 
October 26, 1715. Dinner for forty ministers and messengers from other 
churches was served at Captain Sabin's on the Woodstock line near the 
present airport. "The good dinner" ordered by the town cost "ten 
pounds in money in the whole for payment." 

Mr. Williams' land and farming was the pride of the parish. He 
owned large flocks of sheep, herds of cattle, and slaves to care for them. 
Ministers' large families obliged them to engage in secular business. 
In early times, as it has been said, nothing was "cheep but preaching 
and milk." 

What gave the name of Jericho to that wild and beautiful region 
is a matter of conjecture. Did the scholastic Mr. Williams, as he reached 
the heights of Easter Hill, in his parish, overlooking the valley, see 
in rushing streams, flowing from north and west, and in the low inter- 
vale disappearing among the rugged wooded hills, a comparison be- 
tween this fair valley and the descriptions of Jericho of the Holy Lands? 
Perhaps he felt as Robison, the historian: "It is certainly one of the 
richest lands of the world, enjoying all the rains of the hill country." 

It is said that Mr. Williams' congregations were too large to be 
seated in the old meetinghouse. He was yet in the prime of life when 
the Second Society of Pomfret, Brooklyn, was set off. One of the last 
duties performed by Mr. Williams was the fixing the boundaries of 
Abington in 1751, when that section of Pomfret was known as the Third 
Parish. It is tradition that in the latter part of his life he became very 
corpulent and could not reach his feet; so that when he was absent 
from home on councils and ecclesiastical purposes, a delegate had to 
perform the office of "foot dresser." 

Ebenezer Williams passed away at the age of sixty-three. In the 
absence of a will, his children settled his estate according to his wishes. 
The homestead went to his elder son. Colonel Ebenezer Williams, who 
had established his home on the high elevation adjoining his father 
on the north. His old dwelling stood as an ell to the fine Colonial 
house which remained until 1941, although much damaged by the hum- 
cane of 1938. It was a typical old dwelling, a low sprawling building 
with an immense kitchen and enormous fireplace and brick oven. 
Colonel Williams is credited with having built the beautiful colonial 
house, which is a marvel of early architecture. The broad fields were 
cleared, tilled, and walled by slaves, and a fine view is obtained from 
these hills. 

Colonel Williams was made librarian in 1759 in the "room" of 
his father. It was ordered that "the Library be kept for the future of 
Mr. Ebenezer Williams till it should be ordered otherwise." Mr. Wil- 
liams held this post up to the time of his death in 1783. 



20 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

In 1856 the place was owned by P. and H. A. Dyer, and was known 
as Dyer Hill. In the "eighties" the property was acquired by Mrs. Adri- 
anna Bush of New York. Mrs. Bush made many improvements, in- 
cluding a mansion house which, with the beautiful pine grove where 
it stood, was destroyed in the hurricane of 1938. Since her death in 1913, 
the site has been known as Bush Hill. 



ABIEL CHENEY - FIRST POMFRET BLACKSMITH 

In scenic beauty, no spot in town compares with the view obtained 
from the old Pomfret Town House, which overlooks the long intervale 
and encircling hills south, where the Mashamoquet and the Newiche- 
wanna join. 

The first settler south of this locality was Abiel Cheney, black- 
smith. He built his dwellings at the end of the long intervale, about 
two hundred feet from the Newichewanna. Here a walled-in cellar 
remains, and a walled-in overflowing spring. Large pines grow, and 
partly cover the place where he burned charcoal pits for his forge. 

Prior to 1720, a tavern license was granted Abiel Cheney to accom- 
modate travelers who were passing his place over the one bridle path 
that connected this section with South Pomfret (Brooklyn). It was 
a long "Sabbeth Days journey" to meeting "exceeclingly difficult and 
next to impossible, and children were compelled a great part of the 
year to tarry at home on the Lord's Day." The Reverend Mr. Wil- 
liams visited the people and held a monthly meeting for them. 

This trail which passed through Bennett and Baker Hollows to 
Blackwell's Brook, thence to Tatnick Hill and the coast, was a primi- 
tive Indian trail connecting their forts on "Chandler Mountain" and 
Tatnick Hill. These Indians disappeared from this section before the 
coming of the white man, having been driven north by the warring 
Mohegans. 

The Tatnicks were found by Captain Gookin and John Eliot in 
1666, living in small hamlets on Tatnick Hill in Worcester. They were 
a friendly tribe, and readily accepted Christianity, and were numbered 
among the Praying Indians who were later to be scattered by King 
Phillip's war. They fled beyond the Hudson River. 



PIONEERS MILL SITE 

"To the southward of Abiel Cheney," is a natural mill site on 
the Newichewanna about one mile up the brook from the Cheney 
homestead, near the boundary of Pomfret and Mortlake. No record 
can be found to establish the date when the ancient dam was built, 



NORTH WILTSHIRE 21 

but according to the oldest traditions "it has always been there." 
The saw mill furnished boards for the houses built for Governor 
Belcher's tenants. It was in operation before 1739. A corn mill 
provided meal for the first settlers of this region, giving them, altho 
miles from the main settlement, all the privileges enjoyed by the 
older communities. The corn mill has not been in operation in the mem- 
ory of the oldest present inhabitants, but the old mill-wheel was in place 
until recently, when it was removed by a late owner of the property. 
Boundary lines have been made from the "eye of the wheel." A few 
hundred feet west of the dam is an ancient cellar-hole. On the north 
side is a high stone chimney base, now heavily covered with sod. At 
each end of the cellar are broad door stones. Here was once the 
dwelling of a man who left the rude bride-path trail and followed 
the stream to a mill site in the wilderness. Remnants of his labors 
still exist today, as the older houses in the neighborhood were built 
from lumber sawed at his mill, which was in operation as late as the 
eighteen fifties. At that time Ira Elliott of Thompson, bought the prop- 
erty of his father-in-law, William Osgood. This property is owned, at 
present, by John Smutnick. The timbers and lumber for this house 
were cut on Pine Hill, and hauled to the old mill with ox-carts over 
Baker Hollow roads that were then in general use. 



NORTH WILTSHIRE 

When Israel Putnam purchased South Wiltshire from Governor 
Belcher in 1739, the North Wiltshire farm was sold to Benjamin Hub- 
bard, who, in 1742, was granted a tavern license. The new road over 
Bush Hill, passing his front door, brought plenty of patronage. This 
was a half-way stop between Brooklyn and the Great Falls (Putnam), 
by way of the River Road. 

Willard Hubbard, son of Benjamin, devoted his life to teaching. 
His life was one of much sacrifice. A small salary allowed by the English 
Missionary Society was insufficient, and many times he was obliged to 
keep the schoolhouse in repair, and also supply food and clothing 
for the children. Wheaton Farm, Ragged Hill, was the site of the In- 
dian schoolhouse. 

His brother, Dr. Thomas Hubbard, a student under Dr. Waldo, 
became an even greater physician than his predecessor, many young 
men studying under him, considered it a great privilege to follow his 
fast chaise on horseback, in order to gain experience. He lived east 
of the Ben Grosvenor Inn on the old road. He was active in Peace and 
Temperance Societies. In 1814 he and other Pomfret and Woodstock 
men incorporated the Arnold Manufacturing Company in South Wood- 
stock, which made cotton twine and cloth. An active village grew up, 
long known as Arnoldtown. The old Hubbard tavern house is now 



22 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

owned by William Valentine. It stands on the corner of Route 93 
and the back road to Brooklyn via Bush Hill. The enormous latch 
on the garret door is said to have been for the purpose of keeping the 
slaves upstairs at night. 

At a later date the Hubbards owned the farm now belonging to 
Clarence Green of Providence. The present fine old dwelling was 
built as a wedding present for a daughter of the Hubbards, before 1800. 
Happily, the present owners have restored the house to its original 
architecture, bringing down the splendid wide flooring from the garret 
and relaying it on the first floor. Wide roofing-boards and wooden 
pegging depict the age of the house. The ancient mill and dwelling 
sites are included in their property. 



WESTERN POMFRET, NOW BAKER HOLLOW 

The first settlers in southwestern Pomfret were: Thomas Goodell 
(1699), Easter Hill, Ebenezer Truesdell (1709), Samuel Sharp (1720) 
on the trail to Woodstock (the King's Highway), and John and James 
Ingalls (1720) on the Nipmuck Path, through Elliott, Route 97. 

Ebenezer Truesdell bought and sold large tracts of purchase land 
in 1709. At one time he owned all of Baker Hollow, and sold out large 
tracts to Jonathan Hide on the south east and to Samuel Taylor on 
the north east sections. 

Samuel Taylor settled in the Quinebaug Valley, but in 1727 he 
sold land to Henry Taylor who, when he married two years later, 
settled in the Hollow. At that period, usually, homesteads remained 
in the family for generations, although not always in the family name. 
The name of Louis Taylor is shown on the map of 1856. The property 
is now owned by Mr. and Mrs. Roger Clapp. This is a very old Colonial 
dwelling, and could well date back to the first settler, Henry Taylor. 
It has been carefully restored to its original lines by Mr. and Mrs. 
Clapp. 

At an early date the Taylors operated a brick-yard in the Hollow, 
south and easterly of Hattins cabin. 

In the Pomfret town records we find that Henry Taylor sold land to 
Ephraim Hide in 1736, married in 1735, died in 1761. This Hide farm, 
according to tradition, lay at the top of the hill above the Taylor-Clapp 
place, shown on the map as S. Sharp. This property is now owned by 
Martha Perkola. 

The first little schoolhouse stood just above the Taylor-Clapp place 
in 1732, on the corner of the old road that once turned sharply to the 
right, and climbed the steep ascent through the Hide land. This road 
was changed to run around the hill in 1900. 

Jonathan Hide bought land of Truesdell in 1709, covering much 
of Baker Hollow. His large holdings caused this tract to be called 



WESTERN POMFRET, NOW BAKER HOLLOW 23 

Hide's Hollow. His home was on the Mortlake line, set off to the 
Second Society (Brooklyn) before 1740. 

At an early date a family by the name of Potter settled on the left 
of Blackwell's Brook, near the crossing. Their settlement was known 
as Potter's Plain, where there are still cellar holes of this settlement, 
now all overgiown and forgotten. Children from this settlement fol- 
lowed the old trail that, then as now, skirted Pine Hill out to the 
little schoolhouse at the northern end of the Hollow. 

Mr. Williams had been settled in Pomfret seventeen years before 
any means for public education were provided. In 1732 it was agreed 
that "there should be one standing school kept by a schoolmaster six 
months in the winter season, midway on the road leading from Wood- 
stock to Mr. Williams' bridge." This was one of the first established 
schools. 

"Mr. Williams' bridge" was a bridle path bridge, the stone piles of 
which remain. It is evident that this had been a fording place before 
the bridge was built, as it is still possible to cross on the stones. A sub- 
stantial bridge was built over the brook after 1800. This bridge went 
out in 1938. For many years the valley was well cultivated, and the 
trail of Ebenezer Williams' time was a well trodden road. A stone 
bridge over the rivulet on the trail still remains. 

The same year the schoolhouse was built, the town of Pomfret 
annexed the part of Mr. Williams' farm lying in Mortlake, which in- 
cluded his house, "for ye removal of ye difficulty he labored under in 
living out of town and bringing his work and dwelling together," which 
accounts for the elbow seen on the southeast corner of Pomfret maps. 

Highway troubles kept Pomfret busy for several years, the town 
declining to build roads for the people of South Pomfret. Not until 
after 1737 was a road surveyed through Mortlake to Pomfret, the pres- 
ent Brooklyn road over Grey Mare Hill, and they finally consented to 
the "obnoxious highway," "provided the road be made conformable 
to Gov. Belcher through Mortlake, and thence along by Mr. Williams 
and Truesdells, and so to the meetinghouse" now known as Bush Hill 
Road. 



HIDES' HOLLOW BECOMES RANDALL'S HOLLOW AFTER 1800 
NOW KNOWN AS BAKER HOLLOW 

Nathan Randall, son of John and Mary Randall, who came to 
Pomfret in 1793 and settled near Cotton Bridge, married Elizabeth 
Waight at the age of twenty-one. He bought land in the pleasantest 
part of the Hollow. 

They had six children born between 1787 and 1801, named John, 
Mary, Nathan, Susanna, Stephen and Deborah. Deborah married Ar- 
temus Downing, died in 1837 and was buried with three small children 



24 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

by the side of her mother, whose marble slab under the date of 1834 
reads— "In memory of Elizabeth Randall, relict of Nathan Randall, 
age 76 years." There are other graves marked with field stones beside 
the two marble slabs of Mrs. Randall and her daughter. 

Stephen Randall, youngest son, received the old homestead. Nathan 
Randall died before 1810. Whether this family were related to Jonathan 
Randall, who settled on Ragged Hill about the same time, is not known, 
although both families came from Rhode Island. 

The old Randall house burned at an early date, and a second took 
its place on the same site. This was a long wood-colored, one and 
one-half story house, facing the south, with a well and well sweep in 
front. The well sweep pole was weighted with stones, as was the old 
gate-sweep pole that swung open to admit teams passing over the 
trodden road to Blackwell's Brook, little used even before 1900. 

Four houses have been built on the foundation. Three have burned 
and the fourth is a neat stone cabin built by Irving Hattin, which he 
appropriately calls "Hattin's Hide-Out." 

The fertile fields of many years ago are overgrown, and the road 
to the cabin is a mere trail to follow, but the foliage on the eastern 
hills is just as beautiful and the birds sing just as sweetly in the sunny 
hollow as they did in Rev. Williams' time. 

The broad fields cultivated by the Randalls are now walled-in 
woodlands; even in their tiny burial plot, once walled against all in- 
trusion, young trees are growing. In this tiny bit of God's Acre in the 
hush of the forest, one senses the weakness of man's effort and the 
reality of oblivion. 

By 1850 the Randall farm was owned by Benjamin Baker, Sr. 
It was then a fine dairy farm. His descendants and other members of 
the Baker family settled in the hollow, giving it its present name of 
Baker Hollow. There were once many families living not only in the 
hollow, but on the hill side where a fertile plateau invited settlement, 
on which the Rev. Williams, the Days and others settled. 

The Webber family were among the early settlers. The last of 
this family, Sumner Webber, lived a little below the present Roger 
Clapp house. They were typical New Englanders, living always within 
their means. In his old age he drove a faithful horse whose spasmodic 
stamping of string-halt announced his coming. Finally with but few 
hens for support, and her chimney falling down, the town fathers of- 
fered aid to the widowed Ellen Baker Webber, which was promptly 
rejected. Through private benevolence her chimney was repaired, and 
her wants met, so that her name was not on the town books up to the 
time of her death in 1923. 



CHAPTER II 



CARGILL FALLS (THE GREAT FALLS) 

In 1700 Peter Aspinwall, one of the early settlers near the Falls, 
assisted in laying out a road to Woodstock. As the fording place was so 
dangerous the greater part of the year, he asked the General Assembly 
to allow him to build a bridge, offering to build and care for it, for 
150 acres of land. The short-sighted Assembly refused to accept his 
offer, and for the next quarter of a century, the old fording place was 
made to serve the public. 

Many were the thrills experienced in crossing the turbulent Quine- 
baug in times of high water. Not until 1722 was the river bridged, by 
Capt. John Sabin and his son. The sum allowed for the project was 
one hundred twenty pounds and three hundred acres of land on the 
west side of the river, now known as Sabin St. In the agreement he 
was required to keep the bridge in repair for fourteen years. 

The first industry at the Great Falls, in Putnam, was a grist mill, 
established before 1720 by David Howe. At that date Pomfret had 
built a road to his mill. 

In 1787 Capt. Benjamin Cargill bought the property and built 
a new mill. It had three large millstones, and was capable of grinding 
500 bushels of corn daily. This mill was of great advantage to the 
whole country side in the great drouth of 1788-9, when all small streams 
were dry and no mills able to operate. Grain was hauled on hand sleds 
from Pomfret, and the adjoining towns, all winter. This was also a year/ 
when great cold and deep snow following the drouth made great hard- 1 
ship, with the men still away at war, and the roads not opened. 

Capt. Cargill also built other industries, a fulling mill, malt house, 
distillery, trip hammer shop, sawmill, blacksmith shop, and churning 
mill (Pomfret's first creamery). He also built a three tenement house, 
which still stands. The grist mill was razed in 1949. 



POMFRET FACTORY J796 

With the passing of Captain Cargill's active days, the property 
was sold to Messrs. Knight and Harris of Providence, and the first 
cotton factory in Windham County was added to the list of industries, 
called Pomfret Factory. In 1826 the village was owned by Smith Wil- 
kinson, a man of fine business ability and Christian character. The 



<^ 



26 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

distilleries and malt houses were put to better use. A Congregational 
Church and a little red schoolhouse were built on the hill near what 
is now Union Square. His village was a model of law and order, and 
his home one of the most attractive in the county. He was a Baptist, 
and a church was built on his land in 1847. 

On Thanksgiving Day in^J_839, the first train pulled into the little 
railroad station that was called Pomfret~Depor, although the Quine- 
baug River was the boundary between the towns of Pomfret and Kil- 
lingly, and the Depot was in Killingly. 

A lively village giew up in the three corners of the towns of Pom- 
fret, Thompson and Killingly. An effort was made in 1849 to con- 
solidate these three sections into one town. The enterprise was led by 
Mr. Wilkinson and his son, and many of the young men of the village. 
The old towns being unwilling to give up their valuable teiTitory, a 
bitter conflict arose, but taking the "courage of Putnain" for their slo- 
gan, the promoters of the project continued the fight until 1855, when 
victory was finally won for them by Ex-Governor Cleveland, of Hamp- 
ton, in the Assembly in Hartford. Through the "courage of Putnam" 
they were victorious, and in his honor they called their town Putnam. 

Thus the west side of the Quinebaug, Pomfretville, was lost to the 
town of Pomfret, with its thriving industries of cotton and woolen mills, 
and the large Cargill grain mill by the Falls, that still bears his name. 
The river still dashes over the great rocks, a mad unrestrained demon 
in time of high water, and the name Cargill, through the Falls alone, 
will go down in the history of Putnam. 

Cargill Mills have giound their last grist, and Manhassett Village 
now sprawls over meadow lands that were once the Cargill Farm, which, 
well watered with canals, was a marvel of production, even in dry 
seasons. 



CAPTAIN JOHN SABIN 

In 1691 Captain John Sabin purchased of Captain James Fitch, for 
the sum of nine pounds, one hundred acres of high land easterly from 
the old Air Port, where the wilds of the Masharnoquet Purchase joined 
the South Woodstock settlement. The trail of the Middle Post Road 
from Hartford and Boston crossed his land. 

Before 1694 he had built the Sabin Stockade, commanding a fine 
view of the surrounding country. Less than a mile to the northwest 
was Planting Hill, a community corn field, where early settlers grew 
their corn on allotments of one-half to one acre. Sabin family tradition 
asserts that the Sabin Stockade offered great protection to the planters 
when working in their fields, which were cultivated and fenced in 
common, a "fence viewer" being appointed by the town. 



BENJAMIN SABIN 27 

As a friend of the red man, Capt. John Sabin had great authority 
over them. At his own expense he fed the poor Wabbaquassetts, a 
deed that won them as allies of the white men, and for which service 
the General Assembly allowed him five poimds out of the public treas- 
ury, and raised him to the rank of Major. Descendants of John Sabin 
relate a story of how he outwitted attacking unfriendly Indians by hang- 
ing his hat out of the door on a stick, which was immediately riddled with 
arrows. Then he dashed from the door in pursuit. The Indians fled in 
terror, believing themselves chased by the ghost of the man they had 
killed. He chased them as far as Peak's Brook on the Woodstock 
Road. An ear of one of their number, and the riddled hat, were found 
after the skirmish, as proof of the attack. 

John Sabin died in 1743, leaving a fair estate to his four children: 
John, a physician in West Farms (Franklin); Hezekiel, an innkeeper 
on Thompson Hill; Judith, wife of Justice Leavens of Killingly; and 
Noah at the old home. 

A hundred years ago the place was deeded by a direct descendant 
of John Sabin to the Bartholomew family, descendants of William Bar- 
tholomew (1681) who built a "corne mill" at Harrisville, and of Abi- 
gail Bartholomew who was rescued by her father from the Indians in 
Roxbury, Mass. An old elm and well have long marked the site of 
this Capt. John Sabin dwelling, now known as Locust Hill Farm. 

Near the site of the Stockade, on the highway, is an old stone 
mortar used by the Indians for pounding their corn into meal. This 
bowl-shaped rock is about two feet in diameter, and would have held 
a peck of corn. 



BENJAMIN SABIN 

Benjamin Sabin, half brother of John, settled first in Woodstock 
in 1686. Their father, a Huguenot, had settled first in Rehoboth, Mass. 
forty years before the settlement of Woodstock. He was the father of 
twenty children. Benjamin was the direct ancestor of Ralph Sabin, 
the last male survivor of the Sabin family at Sabin Corner. 

Benjamin Sabin settled on the farm known as the Hay ward place, 
now the Pomfret Golf Course. He was Pomfret's first Representative, 
in 1719, and the second person to be buried in the burying-ground 
(1725). The Sabin lands were bounded north by the Wappaquans 
Brook, and included the beautiful farai at the foot of Pomfret Hill, 
shown on the map under the name of William Sabin, purchased by 
George Lowry in 1880. The original Sabin house still stands as part 
of the outbuildings. 

The farm passed from William Sabin to George Lowry, later to 
Thomas Maher. William Sabin was a strict churchman, who always 
said grace at the head of the long table where sat his line of hired 



28 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

men, but hardly would he have said "Amen" before he would say 
"Lydia, pass the doughnuts." 

From 1914 to 1921 here was the home of Elizabeth Jewett Brown, 
writer and teacher. 



NATHANIEL GARY 

Nathaniel Gary, the first settler in the old Gary neighborhood was 
one of the thirteen proprietors who settled Woodstock in 1686, being 
allotted 15 acres on Plane Hill (Woodstock). 

For carrying chains in surveying, and laying out the new tract in 
1698, he was allowed all the land he could encompass in nimble running 
in an hour, in this section. That he ran well is proven by the number 
of acres he acquired, including some of the finest table land lying west 
of the Quinebaug River. 

A year later, on Dec. 3, 1699, he purchased of Major James Fitch, 
in company with J. Deming, 500 acres for 12 pounds. Deming settled 
at the foot of Prospect Hill, where the name of Deming is shown on the 
map of 1856. This transfer from Fitch to Gary was not recorded until 
January 21, 1717. 

Fitch had acquired this land from Owaneco, the Indian Chief, 
who signed his deeds with his mark, the picture of a young chicken. 

Gary chose the high lands west of the Quinebaug River for his 
home site. He was an active man in the new Parish, attending regularly 
services at the little meetinghouse built in 1715 at the top of the long 
Pomfret Hill. Finding the journey by the Dana Road cold and hard 
for himself and family, he built a Sabba-day house near the meeting- 
house. 

Perhaps tiring of frontier life, he returned to Enfield, Mass. in 
1718 and sold his homestead to Jonathan Dresser "of Pomfret, late 
of Rowley, Mass., 100 acres with buildings, for 300 pounds, land run- 
ning to the Quinebaug." 

Members of the Gary family remained on other fertile Gary acres 
for a century, giving their name to the neighborhood. Samuel Gary 
was killed in the Revolutionary War. When the Methodists began their 
labors in Pomfretville (Putnam) about 1800, the Garys ancl Perrins 
were leaders in the movement. Meetings were first held at the old 
Perrin homestead or at the Gary schoolhouse, Mrs. Lucy Perrin Gary 
being a very active worker. George Gary, a boy of 17, was converted to 
the faith, and became a boy preacher of much power. 

When Joseph J. Green acquired a section of the Gary farm from 
the Dresser family is not clear in the records, probably through inheri- 
tance. 

Here his grandson, Jason Green, spent three score years and ten. 
He was a teacher for thirty years and Representative from the Town 
of Pomfret. 



PERRIN 29 

His first wife was Miss Catherine Adams Holbrook, and his sec- 
ond, Emma Werrill, of New York, an English trained nurse with long 
experience in English hospitals. 

At the persuasion of this Mrs. Green, Jason Green installed a 
bathroom in his house, one of the first among the farming section of 
the town. 

One of Mrs. Green's prized possessions was a lace handkerchief 
used to cover the face of Lloyd George at his christening. 

Mr. and Mrs. Clifford Green bought the faini from the adminis- 
trator of the Green estate, and in 1942 it was opened as a home for the 
elderly, under the name of Green- Wray Memorial Home. 

Also a part of the original Green property is the farm of H. O. 
Coombs, which was acquired by the Ballards at an early date. 



PERRIN 

The Perrin family settled at a very early date on three hundred 
acres of land in the valley of the Quinebaug, on what is now Quine- 
baug Avenue. Samuel Perrin built a large house, known as the man- 
sion, which he opened as a house of public entertainment, accommo- 
dating the restless pioneers that plodded to and fro, searching homes 
in the wild. His house stood on the grounds of the home now owned by 
the Kent estate at 126 Quinebaug Ave. 

At this site Pomfret and Killingly built a bridge across the river 
to accommodate the Providence, Killingly and Pomfret turnpike, which 
connected with the Noi-wich and Worcester Pike at Pomfret Landing, 
by way of the old River Road. 

The Perrins owned all Hospital Hill. The Perrin Farm is now 
owned by Mr. S. Nikoloff. Built in 1766 it was the Perrin home during 
the Revolution, where they suffered great privation, living on a diet 
of carrots for several weeks. 

Just west of the Perrin farm house was once a splendid grove, where 
was held the first Camp Meeting of Windham County, in 1808. The 
Camp Grounds were maintained for more than half a century. Noah 
Perrin was one of the leaders of the early Methodist Church in 1795, 
Meetings were held at the old Penin house for many years, when they 
were regarded with great disfavor by the old established churches. 



CHAPTER III 



OTHER FIRST SETTLERS AND THE 
FIRST CENTURY IN POMFRET 

No name is more outstanding in the history of Pomfret settlement 
than that of Grosvenor. John Grosvenor, one of the wealthiest of the 
twelve proprietors of the Mashamoquet Purchase of 1680, had emi- 
grated from England with his wife, Esther, and six grown sons— William, 
John, Leicester, Ebenezer, Thomas and Joseph, and daughter Susanna. 

John Grosvenor's death occurred before the settlement of the new 
Purchase in 1700. His wife and sons took possession of his allotment, 
although he had been commissioned by the Company at the time of 
the purchase to visit Norwich and pay to Major John Fitch the thirty 
pounds purchase price of the fifteen thousand one hundred acres, com- 
prising the Mashamoquet Purchase. 

The marriage of Susanna Grosvenor to Joseph Shaw of Stoning- 
ton, in 1702, was the first wedding to take place in the settlement, 

Esther Grosvenor's oldest son, William, was graduated from Har- 
vard in 1693, was a minister in Brookfield, Mass. and later went to 
Charleston, S.C. Her other sons, all in early manhood became leading 
citizens of Pomfret. 

Mrs. Grosvenor was endowed with great courage and energy, and 
although she had been gently reared in England, like a true pioneer 
endured the hard life cheerfully. Skilled in the care of the sick, for 
many years she was the only medical practitioner. Once, when alone, 
her home was invaded by a company of Indians, who threatened to 
take a boiling pot of meat from the fire. In spite of their violent demon- 
strations, she clefended her dinner, and held them at bay with a broom- 
stick until the arrival of her son, Ebenezer. 

The story is also told of her strength in searching for and finding 
a new born calf in the woods, after the men had given up the search, 
and returning triumphant, with the calf rolled in her apron. 

Esther Grosvenor died in Pomfret in 1738, at the age of 86. She 
retained her health and vigor to a remarkable degree, walking to and 
from Pomfret Meetinghouse, more than a mile, every Sabbath. Her 
last days were spent at the old Ralph Sabin homestead at Sabin Comer, 
now owned by Capt. Hugh Goodhue, U.S.N., a descendant of the family. 

This house is one of three built by Esther Grosvenor. Construc- 
tion was begun in 1696, and finished in 1725; a remarkable example 
of colonial architecture, the old timbers still there, and the shutters 



SPRING FARM 31 

that were used when the house was buih. The outer walls are lined 
with brick, as protection against Indian attack. The estate has ever 
been in the Grosvenor and Sabin families. 

An Esther Grosvenor house stood on Pomfret Street, and was burned 
in 1913, while being used as an Episcopal Rectory. Maps of 1856 show 
it as owned by Job Williams, Town Clerk. 

SPRING FARM 

Post Road Tavern, Spring Farm, was built by Caleb Grosvenor, 
and there mail was left for over a quarter of a century before the first 
postoffice was officially established between Boston and New York. 

The low ell of this overhang house was built about 1750, the 
main part about 1760. The present owner, Wilbur C. Abbott, has 
restored the house to its original lines by removing the long narrow 
porches that for many years scarred its colonial beauty. 

In an ancient copy of the "New London Gazette" of 1786 is 
found the following advertisement of this property: 

"To be sold or let — A farm containing 300 acres, situated in Ab- 
ington Society. On the middle post road from Hartford to Boston 
with a large dwelling house which is now and has been for a number 
of years improved as a public house. Said house has an excellent or- 
chard which will make 80 barrels of cider annually." 

Caleb Grosvenor had two sons in the Revolution, and his home 
was undoubtedly sold after his death. The place did not again return 
to the Grosvenor family for a hundred years, when it was purchased by 
Benjamin Grosvenor. 

Caleb Grosvenor was a rising young man at the time the Ab- 
ington meetinghouse was built. Because of paying the highest rate in 
the Parish, he was given first choice of a place to build his pew. 

The old post road, later the Hartford-Boston turnpike, was muddy, 
rough and precipitous, though heavily traveled. The tavern, built in 
1765, was famous through the Revolution. Caleb Grosvenor was a loyal 
Patriot, but a sign long hung before his door, depicting a post rider 
carrying the English flag, and riding a galloping horse. This sign, that 
once bore the date 1765, now hangs before the Ben Grosvenor Inn on 
Pomfret Street. 

History, tradition and controversy met at the tavern. In 1812 the 
son of Lieut. Joseph Spaulding, a Revolutionary soldier. Rev. Solomon 
Spaulding, with his wife, spent some time at the Caleb Grosvenor Inn 
while suffering from loss of voice while teaching school. He wrote for 
his own amusement a romantic account of the wanderings of the Chil- 
dren of Israel across the Behring Straits, and called it "Manuscript 
Found" or the "Book of Mormon." 

Rev. and Mrs. Spaulding removed to Pennsylvania, where they be- 
came acquainted with Joseph Smith, who later became the Mormon 



32 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

prophet. Mrs. Spaulding claimed she lent the manuscript to Mr. Smith, 
who never would return it. The Mormon Church emphatically denied 
the Spaulding manuscript, claiming it had been found by Professor 
Fairchild of Oberlin College in 1884. 

After the death of her husband, Mrs. Spaulding returned to Pom- 
fret, and after the founding of the Mormon Church in 1830, was often 
heard to say she wished she had burned the manuscript. Among others 
to whom she related the story was Miss Mary Osgood, local historian, 
who was personally acquainted with her. 

Mrs. Spaulding was Matilda, daughter of William and Susanna 
Chandler Sabin, granddaughter of Benjamin Sabin, Pomfret's first 
Representative. Her father was a blacksmith, and his original shop 
stood a little north, opposite the present Catholic Church in Pomfret. 

In 1947, a small item in the city newspapers announced the finding 
in Honolulu, of the so-called Spaulding papers which disputed the 
original story of Joseph Smith. 

Down the long steep hill west of Spring Farm is Nightingale Pond, 
named for Col. Nightingale, who came from Providence to Pomfret 
during the Revolution. A man of wealth, he entertained lavishly. His 
fine farm was rivaled by none in town. 

On the pond that perpetuates his name, Henry Brayman carried 
on a sawmill at the old mill privilege. The toll gate house at the foot 
of the long hill west of the pond was for many years the home of Mr. 
Brayman's daughter, Mrs. Lucy Smith, before 1939. This house is 
show^n on the map under the name of Dan'l Fitts, and has been pur- 
( based by Lloyd Saunders of Providence as a summer home. 

POMFRET'S SECOND MINISTER 1756-1780 

Pomfret's second minister, the Rev. Aaron Putnam, a Harvard 
graduate (1752) was installed in the Pomfret Parish in March 1756. 
While not considered an equal to his predecessor in talents and in- 
fluence, he was highly regarded for his discipline in keeping the Sab- 
bath. 

POMFRET STREET 1 

1. Pomfret's Third Congregational Church. Built 1832. 

2. Map — Rob. Davis. The Ben Grosvenor Inn, showing old section, built 1760. 
Now owned by The B. G. Corporation. 

3. Map — Chas. Burton. The Ebenezer Grosvenor Revolutionary Inn. Owned 
by the Slattery family. 

4. Map — E. B. Robinson. Built by Louis Williams 1758. Owned by David 
Planchon. 

5. Map — P. Grosvenor. Pomfret's first Post Office. Postmaster Lemuel 
Grosvenor, 1795. Owned by E. S. Elting, V.S. 

6. Map — C. Lombard. Owned by Elizabeth Wiggins Est. 

7. Map— Trowbridge. The Joseph Carter Grocery, 1762. At left the Joseph 
Carter dwelling, now Holy Trinity Rectory. 

8. Map — Dr. Louis Williams. Peter Thompson Tavern House 1817. Home of 
Pomfret Doctors from 1849 to the death of Dr. S. B. Overlock in 1934. Owned by 
E. W. Moon, 3rd. 




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POMFRET'S SECOND MINISTER 35 

Unlike the Rev. Williams, whose home was miles from the meeting- 
house, Mr. Putnam built his dwelling on Pomfret Street, now the old 
part of Ben Grosvenor Inn. Soon after coming to Pomfret, he mamed 
the sister of one of Pomfret's first physicians, Dr. Hall. She met a tragic 
death on Pomfret Street, near the present Library, when she was thrown 
from a two-wheel chaise, the wheel having run over a rock after her 
husband had left her to pick her some wild flowers. 

The second Mrs. Putnam was a daughter of Ephraim Avery, Brook- 
lyn's first minister, Pomfret's second parish. Her widowed mother be- 
came the second wife of Gen. Israel Putnam. The building of Pom- 
fret's second church was the historic event of Mr. Putnam's pastorate 
in 1760. 

For a period of three years, the unfinished frame of a new church 
building stood untouched while the Parish quarrelled over the site. 
Pomfret Street was building up about this time and felt it should have 
a "priority" on the meeting house, which was deeply resented by the 
west section (Abington). The north east section had favored old Pom- 
fret Village. 

When the meeting-house was finally completed, it was the pride of 
the county. Standing out on the present highway, directly in front of 
Pomfret's present church, it would seat one thousand people. It stood 
48x60, with 25 ft. stud, with a very high steeple, painted a bright yel- 
low with chocolate trimmings. The meeting-house for a time united 
the people. The high galleries, high pulpit and sounding board were 
all up to date, all that the times demanded. 

In his later years, through ill health, Mr. Putnam suffered loss of 
voice, and Walter Dodge, of Ipswich, a Harvard graduate, was called 
to aid in the parish. Mr. Dodge's lively manner and eloquence won 
favor from the start, a contrast to the "stiffness and solemnity" of Mr. 
Putnam. He was ordained in the church April, 1792, and soon had a 
large following among the younger set, leading them far from the Puri- 
tan circle, for he soon proved himself totally unfit for the ministry, by 

POMFRET STREET 2 and ROUTE 93 

1. Map — E. F. Robinson. Where Thomas Grosvenor entertained Washington, 
1789. Has been torn down. 

2. Map — W. Eldredge. The Col. Thomas Grosvenor mansion, 1792. Now 
Rectory School. 

3. Map — L. Fittz. Chandler homestead in 1708. Owned by Gen. J. M. Carson. 
See Jos. Chandler. 

4. Map — ^Ehja Adams. Long the home of Alfred Briggs. Owned by Mrs. S. M. 
Wheelock. 

5. Map — P. Grosvenor. One of the four first mansions built by 1750. Owned 
by Wm. D. Moss. 

6. Map — ^J. Weaver. Fox Hill Farm. Once home of Eleanor Mathewson. 
Owned by the Mathewson Est. 

7. Catholic Church and Pomfret's second school house on this site, built 
about 1850. First school on this site was built about 1732. 

8. Map — David HaU. House moved to present site on side road west of 
Rectory School. 



36 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

introducing wild drinking parties and dances into the parish. The 
society became hopelessly divided. 

The Dodgeites, calling themselves the "Reformed Catholic Church 
of Pomfret" held their services in warmth and comfort in the old Esther 
Grosvenor homestead, just north of the present Episcopal Church; while 
the faithful remnant attended at the big cold meeting-house, made 
more cheerless by the thinning congregation, and listened to Mr. Put- 
nam's long dry sermons, read by the deacons. 

In all the church troubles and excitement concerning religion in 
Windham County, it is doubtful that any controversy ever surpassed 
these experienced during the seven years of the Dodge pastorate. Neigh- 
borhoods became enemies, little short of armed camps, families were 
divided, but happily the eyes of the public were opened and this young 
imposter was seen in his true light, when, attempting to preach after 
one of his drunken debauches, he fell in a stupor in the pulpit. "The 
Reformed Catholics," as they styled themselves, then passed into obli- 
vion. 

When the health of the Rev. Putnam did not improve, he was re- 
tired on an allowance for the last eleven years of his life, after forty- 
six years pastorate in Pomfret Church. 

Mr. Asa King, of Mansfield, was installed the third pastor, in 1802, 
and succeeded in reuniting the divided church by promoting more 
respectable dancing parties and amusements. Under his supervision, 
improvements and repairs were made in the meeting-house. Fashionable 
pews replaced the okl seats, and an additional sounding board was sus- 
pended under a massive canopy or balcony, costing as much as the 
present church building. In 1818 a "grand musical organ" was installed. 
Nathaniel Sweeting was the organist. For years Peter Grosvenor had 
led the singing, with pipe and tuning fork. 

But the old church could not come back into its own, as the seven 
chaotic years of the Dodge era had been a spiritual drouth, and the 
congregation drifted apart in more ways than one. Many of the re- 
ligious minded had been drawn away to the Baptists, who had be- 
come established in the old village, while others attended the plain, 
earnest meetings being held at Cargill Mills (Putnam), led by John 
Allen, Methodist. 

In the l iurricane of 1815, the great meeting-house on the hill suf- 
fered much damage and the loss" of the high steeple, as did most of the 
churches in Windham County. Thereafter the building was so cold it 
was difficult to settle a minister, after the resignation of the fourth 
pastor, Rev. James Porter, in 1830. 

The first task of the fifth minister, Rev. Amzi Benedict, was to 
build the present church (1832). Much of the timber from the old 
building was used in the construction. The additional land was bought 
by the ladies, by the sale of hand knit stockings, from hand spun wool 
(Pomfret's First Ladies' Aid). 



CHAPTER IV 



COLONEL THOMAS GROSVENOR 

Colonel Thomas Grosvenor, son of John Grosvenor, was born in 
1754. He served as lieutenant under Captain Brown during the Rev- 
olutionary War. At the battle of Bunker Hill, although wounded in 
the right hand (which he bound up with a white cravat) he continued 
to lead his company into battle, holding his sword in his left hand, 
despite the efforts of his negro servant to draw him from the field. This 
scene, painted by the artist John Trumbull, hangs on a wall at Yale 
University. 

Colonel Grosvenor saw seven years of toil and privation, attached 
to Washington's main army. He was with General Washington in the 
famed crossing of the Delaware. In 1780 he broke ground at West Point 
and began the fort that is now the site of West Point Academy. 

At the dose of the war. Colonel Thomas Grosvenor resumed his 
law practice, and served on the Governor's Council. He was in high 
repute throughout the state— ever the friend of soldiers, Indians, and 
all who needed counsel. 

Pomfret has reason to be proud of her two great citizen soldiers. 
General Israel Putnam and Colonel Thomas Grosvenor. Both were 
personal friends of General Washington. When the Commander-in-Chief 
made his trip to Boston in 1789, he passed through Pomfret. General 
Putnam lived in Brooklyn; so General Washington could not stop over 
to see him — but he did dine with Colonel Grosvenor. It is usually 
said that Washington was entertained at the Thomas Grosvenor Man- 
sion (now the Rectory School), but when we consider that Washington 
made his visit to Pomfret two years before the house was completed, 
the tradition is confirmed that the Commander-in-Chief actually stopped 
at the Harrison House which would appear to have been the home of 
Thomas Grosvenor before the erection of his mansion in 1792. The 
festivities on the occasion of General Washington's visit were notable, 
particularly when an Indian greatly delighted the crowd by dancing 
on the ridgepole. 

The house was much enlarged and remodeled when it became the 
residence of Mr. Robert Harrison about 1900. At that time he owned 
much valuable property in Pomfret— the Rectory School building, a 
racing stable and Arabian horses. 

It was truly a red letter day for Pomfret when Washington's coach 
and four rolled down the old Boston Post Road, past the present site 



38 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

of the airport, and through the village. What Washington thought of 
the country is found in his diary, under the date of November 7, 1789: 

"Left Taft's (Uxbridge, Massachusetts) before sunrise, and passing 
through Douglas Woods breakfasted at one Jacobs, not a good house. 
Bated horses at Pomfret and lodged at Squire Perkins in Ashford (called 
ten miles, but must be twelve). The first stage, with a small exception, 
is intolerably bad roads, and a poor uncultivated country covered 
chiefly with woods, the largest of which is called Douglas, at the foot 
of which, on the east side, is a large pond. Jacobs is in the State of 
Connecticut, and here the land is better and more highly improved. 
From hence to Pomfret they are fine and from thence to Ashford, not 
bad, but very hilly and much mixed with rock and stone. Knowing 
that Gen. Putnam (seventy-one years old) lived in the township of 
Pomfret I had hopes of seeing him, but of inquiry in town I found he 
lived five miles out of my road, and not without deranging my plans 
and delaying my journey I could not do it. 

Sunday, November 8, 1789— Ashford— It being contrary to law and 
disagreeable to the people of this state to travel on the Sabbath Day, 
and my horses, after passing through such intolerable roads, wanting 
rest, I stayed at Perkins' Tavern (which bye-the-bye is not a good one) 
all day, and a meeting house being within a few rods, I attended morning 
and evening services and heard a very lame discourse from a Mr. Pond. 

Monday, November 9, 1789— Hartford— Set out about seven o'clock, 
and for the first twenty-four miles had hills rocky and disagreeable roads; 
the remaining ten miles was level and good, at Hartford a little before 
four. We passed through Mansfield (which is a very hilly country) the 
township in which they make the greatest quantity of silk in the state, 
and breakfasted at one Brighams in Coventry. Stopped at Woodbridge 
in East Hartford. I found by conversing with the farmers along the 
way that minimum crop of wheat to the acres was fifteen bushels, of 
corn— twenty bushels, and of oats, the same." 

Thus is the description of traveling and taverns in the "good old 
days" at the close of the eighteenth century. 

POMFRET, Includingr Ragged ffill 

1. Map — J. W. Grosvenor. One of three houses built by Mrs. Esther Gros- 
venor before 1738. Owned by Mrs. Carleix)n Shaw. 

2. Map — ^Horace Sabin — Oldest House in Pomfret. Begun 1696, completed 
1725. Owned by Capt. Hugh Goodhue, descendant of Sabin family. 

3. Map — D. Fittz-Toll Gate House of turnpike days. Owned by John Alho. 

4. Map — H. S. Searles. Spring Farm. Caleb Grosvenor Inn 1760. Owned by 
C. C. Abbott. 

5. Map — Jonathan Bennett. See Chandler-Cleveland house. Owner A. H. 
Paine. 

6. Map — Geo. Randall. See Jonathan Randall. Owned by Mrs. Goodridge 
Barber. 

7. Map — Charles Chandler. Birthplace of Louise Chandler Moulton, owned 
by Mrs. John Peterson. 

8. Map — Jas. Wheaton. The Wheatons came to Pomfret in 1779. Owned by 
Fred Colburn. 



EBENEZER GROSVENOR INN, POMFRET STREET 41 

THE EBENEZER GROSVENOR INN ON POMFRET STREET 

"Who e'er has traveled earth's dull round 
What e'er his stage may have been 
May sigh to think he yet has found 
His wannest welcome at the Inn." 

The mystery of olden times still clings to the old homes along the 
main village street of old Pomfret, east from Overlock's corner, where 
stands the residence of Mrs. E. A. J. Wiggins (the Waldo house). In 
the days when this was the business section of the village, Samuel Waldo 
on this corner did custom tailoring, and there is still a cupboard in the 
east room where he kept the cloth of his trade. 

But the Wiggins' residence is of much later date than the other 
homes of interest on the street. On their grounds may yet be seen the 
vine-covered walls of the old Harrison house, amid the trees of an 
old-fashioned garden, where deepening shadows fall cool in summer 
and dark on winter snow, and lure fancy back to those historic days 
when Pomfret had barely twenty families whose pioneer fires lighted 
along the primitive trails with no organized protection against the In- 
dian attack. As early as 1712, Ebenezer Grosvenor was numbered among 
these families by Capt. John Sabin. It is traditional that the Harrison 
house was built by Ebenezer Grosvenor who there lived out his day. 
Born in 1684 and died in 1730— his was an active, useful life. He was 
on the committee to decide upon the site of the first meeting-house 
and "school house by the sign post." He was also Sergeant of Pom- 
fret's First Military Company. 

In 1800 the Harrison house was the home of Sylvanus Backus, 
Pomfret's famous lawyer, Avho was elected to Congress by both parties 
in 1817 but died before taking his seat. His law office stood until re- 
cently. A monument in the North Burying Ground commemorates him. 

Ebenezer Grosvenor, Jr., born in 1713, like his father, held offices 
of responsibility, and was one of the committee to choose the site of 
the second meeting-house in 1760. He married Miss Lucy Cheney, 
and they were said to have been the handsomest couple ever to enter 
the meeting-house. She was the first to be buried in the Hall (North) 
Burying Ground. 

POMFRET 4 Route 44 Gary District 

1. Map — J. J. Green. Greenway Memorial Home, owned by Mr. and Mrs. 
Clifford Green. 

2. Map— W. O. Green. Owned by H. O. Combs. 

3. Map — A. Perrin. Owned by Subbo Nicoloff. 

4. Map — ^W. M. Bartholomew. Home of Pomfret's first white settler. Captain 
John Sabin 1694. Owned by Miss Mary Bartholomew. 

5. Map — Dan. Medbury. Was home of 4 generations of Medbury family. 
Present owner Fisher Bros. 

6. Map — Wd. Williams. Owned by Walter Davis. 

7. Map — Geo. Record. Owned by C. A. Tarr, Cattle Dealer. 

8. Map — I. May. Ithamar May settled in Pomfret in 1790. Owned by Twin 
Wing Farm. 



42 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

It was Ebenezer Grosvenor II who opened the famous Revolu- 
tionary tavern in 1771, a place where many officers were entertained, 
and a headquarters for military news and events. Here Washington 
fed his horses when he called on his friend. Col. Thomas Grosvenor 
in 1789. It was here the proprietors of New Pomfret (Pomfret, Ver- 
mont) met on Christmas Day in 1779, to lay the plans for a new town 
in the then wilds of the north, as the younger generation was finding 
the mother town too old and thickly settled for their proper advance- 
ment, and was ready to join the tide of emigration that had already 
begun. 



POMFRET'S FIRST POST OFFICE 

Lemuel Grosvenor, Pomfret's first postmaster, was appointed under 
Washington in 1795. He remained in office forty years, and was very 
proud of his appointment, delighting in signing his name "Lemuel 
Grosvenor, P.M." A post office desk used by him was long in the family 
of Miss Elizabeth Thompson. His wife was a daughter of Gen. Israel 
Putnam. 

Lemuel Grosvenor was born at the old Ebenezer Grosvenor Tavern, 
Which some have claimed to have been the site of the first post office. 
His home was the large white house still standing on the corner of 
Routes 44, 93, and the old Post Road, where his descendants claim was 
the first post office site. 

For a quarter of a century Lemuel Grosvenor's was the main post 
office for many miles around, the first between New York and Boston. 

Lemuel Grosvenor also kept a store of barter and trade. It was 
customary for the storekeeper to go out among the farmers and trade 
his goods for farm produce, which was hauled to Providence with ox 
teams and exchanged again for goods, very little cash ever being handled. 



THE OLD WILLIAMS HOUSE 

In 1758 the Williams House was built by Lewis Grosvenor for his 
intended bride. Death ended the romance, and he never occupied the 
house. He was a half-brother of Lemuel Grosvenor, the first postmaster. 

The following inscription is copied from a silver urn now in the 
possession of Mrs. Charles O. Thompson, a descendant of the Lewis 
Grosvenor family: 

"The Assurer and Owners of Ship Champion & Cargo to Mr. Lewis 
Grosvenor in acknowledgement of the support and encouragement af- 
forded to the officers and crew of said ship, when in great peril at sea 
by voluntarily remaining on board k assisting to bring her safe to port. 
Boston 1822." 



BENJAMIN GROSVENOR 43 

FIRST GROCERY STORE IN POMFRET 

Joseph Carter built the first grocery store in 1762, where supplies 
could be obtained by "barter and trade." There was little beside West 
Indian Goods that the average family needed at that date— rum, molasses, 
spices and salt, for which they traded the products of their farms. 

The old building is now owned by the Misses Keyes. There is 
a very remarkable glass door in the house, made for shutters, very 
thick and heavy, intended for the outside front door. The second 
story was used for a dwelling for the clerk of the old store. 

The Keyes family were of Ashford, but came to Pomfret in pre- 
Civil War days. Their mother was a dressmaker, widowed by the war. 
She owned the first sewing machine in town, in the days when it took 
20 yards of silk to make a dress, or 18 yards of other material. The 
cost of a really nice dress was $20. Dresses were of necessity turned 
and made over several times. Styles were just as variant as today. 

Joseph Carter of Canterbury, owner of the store, lived in the 
house just west of his store, now remodeled and used as the Catholic 
Rectory. 

BENJAMIN GROSVENOR 

In the half century between 1870 and 1923 no townsman was more 
popular in Pomfret than Benjamin Grosvenor. As proprietor of the 
Ben Grosvenor Inn and owner of several of the best farms, he was the 
largest employer in town. His bountiful larder was supplied with vege- 
tables and dairy products from Spring Farm on Ragged Hill, poultry 
and eggs from Hamlet FaiTn. 

The many fine cottages he built for the accommodation of his 
guests were always filled. As a landlord, he was known all along the 
Atlantic Seaboard. Benjamin Grosvenor died in 1923, leaving the 
management of the Inn to his son, John. He also had a daughter, Mrs. 
J. D. Campbell, of Pomfret. 

Benjamin Grosvenor was born at the old Grosvenor-Chandler 
homestead, at the foot of Chandler Hill, one of the three houses built 
by his pioneer ancestress, Esther Grosvenor. This house is now owned 
by Carlton Shaw Est. As a boy he attended the Chandler School and 
Woodstock Academy, 

In 1866, following the advice of Horace Greeley to "Go West, 
Young Man," he went to the wilds of Nebraska, as an appointed agent 
to the Winnebago-Omaha Reservation, to teach cultivation to the In- 
dians. This region became the richest wheat-raising district in the state. 

In 1867 he returned to Pomfret to marry Miss Anna Mathewson. 
Their wedding took place at daybreak on the morning of December 23. 
They started on the early morning train for their honeymoon trip to 
the west, where Mr. Grosvenor had a new home waiting. The Missouri 



44 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

River not being bridged at that time, they were given long poles to 
make the crossing on the ice less dangerous. Fortunately, they made 
the crossing safely. But tragedy awaited their friends, Mr. and Mrs. 
Edwin Sharpe and child, who had come across the river to welcome 
them to their new home. In making the return trip, all three were 
drowned, as the ice broke under them. The Sharpe family was also 
from Pomfret, having preceded the Grosvenors to Nebraska. Two days 
later, Mrs. Grosvenor awoke in her own home, to find her yard full of 
Indians who were awaiting their turn to sharpen their knives and axes. 

Apparently the Grosvenors were not pleased with the west, for at 
the end of two years they returned to Pomfret and purchased the prop- 
erty then owned by James Averill (the Reverend Aaron Putnam house), 
and opened the home for summer boarders. From this modest beginning 
Mr. Grosvenor achieved success. 

Another of Pomfret's sons to answer the call of the west at this 
period was Darius Mathewson 2nd. Remaining in the locality where 
Grosvenor had settled, he founded the town of Wakefield, and saw the 
region develop into the state's richest wheatfield. 

Mr. Grosvenor took a leading part in all town affairs. 

After his death his son, John, maintained the Inn until the coming 
of the Automobile Age wrought many changes in the patronage of the 
hill-top summer resorts. With the reduction of business, the Inn was 
eventually closed and the entire property sold in the fall of 1943 to 
the Pomfret School, reopened in 1947. 

Benjamin Grosvenor built several cottages that today, with the 
church, make up the major residential part of Pomfret Street. Most 
of these cottages stand on what was once the Zachariah Waldo farai. 

JOHN ANDERSON PORTER PLACE, BUILT IN 1750 

Another Pomfret residence of historical background is the John 
Anderson Porter place, built in 1750 by Payson Grosvenor. This was 
one of the first "mansion houses" of Pomfret. John A. Porter was at 
one time owner of the Hartford Courant. He was also Secretary to 
President McKinley. After Mrs. Porter's death, the property was pur- 
chased by Herbert Vanderbeek of Canton, Ohio, who restored the 
property, long neglected. It is now the property of William Moss. At 
this house in the Civil War, soldiers were examined for service. 



THE MATHEWSON FAMILY 

Joseph and Darius Mathewson came from Coventry, Rhode Island. 
Joseph Mathewson purchased the Col. Israel Putnam farm near the 
Brooklyn-Pomfret line in 1795, when Col. Putnam emigrated to Mari- 
etta, Ohio. In Mathewson's time the farm became noted for its fine 
dairy cheese. It is said that Putnam's portrait was painted on the wall 
above the mantle in the living room, where it has been papered over. 



POMFRET SCHOOL 45 

Also on the walls were found under the old paper, painting said to 
have been done by Hessian Soldiers, who worked for board and keep 
in local homes after the Revolution. 

Darius Mathewson settled in Pomfret, purchasing the lands on 
the west side of Pomfret Street (now Pomfret School Grounds). His 
mansion house, built about the same time as the Goodridge house, 
stood on the site of Pomfret School Chapel. It burned in 1913, after 
the school was established. 

Darius Mathewson was a leader in all efforts for reform and tem- 
perance, as was his son, George B., the father of Mrs. Benjamin Gros- 
venor and Mrs. Chas. W. Grosvenor. 

Charles W. Grosvenor, returning from the Civil War, purchased 
his father-in-law's estate, and like his brother, opened his home for an 
Inn. These Inns became known as "B.G.'s" and "C.G.'s", and did much 
to put Pomfret "on the map," their extensive patronage causing all 
trains to stop in Pomfret, so popidar was it as a summer resort. 

In 1896 the Charles W. Mathewson Inn was sold to Edward Peck 
for a boys' school. The Mathewson name passed from the town. Their 
last homestead, Miss Eleanor Mathewson's, Fox Hill Farm, stands near 
the Woodstock line on Route 93, and is the third built on the same de- 
sign on the same hearthstone. 

POMFRET SCHOOL 

Pomfret School was founded by Mr. Edward Peck in 1896. He 
died in 1898 after two years of work in Pomfret, during which time he 
built the gymnasium. Dr. Wm. B. Olmstead, a graduate of Trinity 
College, was his successor, and had been associated with him in estab- 
lishing St. Mark's School for Boys, at Southboro, Mass., prior to coming 
to Pomfret. Dr. Olmstead remained as Headmaster from 1898 until 
his death in 1929. During this time the school was raised to the highest 
standard of education, and fine buildings were erected. Mr. Halleck 
Lefferts following as Headmaster greatly forwarded the work of the 
school. An enterprising citizen, interested in all town and public af- 
fairs, he did much for the youth of Pomfret. Mr. Lefferts was followed 
as Headmaster by Dexter K. Strong. 

The hurricane of 1938 did great damage on the campus and century- 
old trees set out by the Mathewsons. The present chapel stands on the 
site of the Charles Grosvenor Inn. 

PRIVATE SCHOOLS 

Private schools have been maintained in town since 1800 when the 
Baptist School opened on Tyott Road. In 1912 this property was owned 
by Stanton Wicks as a modern stock farm. It appears on old maps in 
the name of George Lyon. This residence was destroyed by fire within 
the past decade. 



46 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

About 1800 a Quaker School was kept near the Quaker Meeting- 
house. Later, a Ladies' Seminai-y was maintained at the old Harrison 
house. 

Reverend Roswell Parks, Rector of the Episcopal Church from 
1843-53, taught a school on the street. This school is shown on maps 
as the Academy, and is the one which the artist Whistler attended as 
a boy, when he lived in the house now used as a Catholic Rectory. The 
school-building, moved many years ago, is used as a barn on the prop- 
erty of Peter Murphy. 

Since 1900 there have been the Misses' Vinton's School at Four 
Acres, and the Vinton-Wiggins School for Boys at Hamlet Lodge. 

The Rectory School, established by the late Reverend Dr. Bige- 
low when he was Rector of the Episcopal Church in 1920, is now beau- 
tifully situated at the Thomas Grosvenor mansion on the Street. 



ARTHUR GROSVENOR HOMESTEAD 

The Arthur Grosvenor farmstead in Abington, near the Masha- 
moquet, was a part of the original Grosvenor tract of 1700, and was kept 
in the family until 1944. 

The present Grosvenor family of Pomfret are descendants of Thom- 
as, the seventh son of Esther Grosvenor, the "picturesque widow of 
Pomfret." Thomas married Elizabeth Pepper in 1718, and settled on 
the Post road, west of Sabins Corner (the present Carlton Shaw house). 
In this house there are yet fireplaces that will take in six-foot logs, 
and some of the chambers remain, in colonial fashion, unplastered. 

Thomas Grosvenor died at the age of forty-seven, leaving four 
children. We cannot follow the fortunes of this second pioneer widow, 
except through the line of her youngest son, Joshua, who was a lieuten- 
ant in the Indian Wars, and a member of the Legislature in 1786. 

No doubt it was Joshua Grosvenor who first settled on the Gros- 
venor farm in Abington. This was the home of Charles Ingalls Gros- 
venor, his son, who was a Legislator from 1840-1850. Charles Payson 
Grosvenor was the third generation from the house to act as Pomfret's 
representative; and the late Arthur T. Grosvenor, last of the immediate 
family, was the fourth, in 1908-1910. 

Charles P. Grosvenor, a recognized leader in all moral and tem- 
perance work in his town and county, was active in forming the first 
temperance society in 1829-30. Many of the leading men in Windham 
County joined him in his work of reform, and labored hard to bring 
about better conditions, Windham County can proudly state: 

"That her great men were good 
And her good men were great 
And the props of her church 
Were the pillars of the state." 



CHAPTER V 



MEDBURY HOMESTEAD - GARY DISTRICT 

The first Daniel Medbury came to Pomfret from Rhode Island at 
the age of 21, choosing for a home site fifty fine acres of land on what 
has ever since been known as Medbury Pond. 

He was a tanner by trade, and there he built a tannery, and also 
carried on a saddlery and shoe business. 

He was a leading man in town and a member of the early Baptist 
Church. He died in 1853, leaving a large family of children by his two 
marriages. 

He was followed at the homestead by his son, Daniel 2nd, who 
was born in 1819, also a tanner and farmer. 

Daniel Medbury 3rd, born at the homestead in 1861, was the 
youngest of 12 children. Like his father and grandfather, he was a 
successful business man. But he utilized the pond, not for water power 
for the tannery, but to establish an ice business, which has been per- 
petuated by his son Raymond in an artificial ice establishment in Put- 
nam. 

Daniel S. Medbury of the fourth generation, bom 1894 was the 
youngest of 5 children, and went to Detroit, Michigan. His son Daniel 
rounds out 5 generations of that name. 

The Medbury homestead was sold in 1938 and is now the home 
of the Fisher Bros. Dairy. 

The Medbury Tannery and Shoe Shop was of much neighborhood 
importance. Farmers took their cow hides to the tannery to be tanned 
into leather, for shoes for the whole family. Adult shoes were made 
by personal measurement, and children's shoes next. All scraps of leather 
were utilized. Boots and shoes were not made left and right as now. 
Longer service was obtained by changing to either foot. 

Heavy cow hide boots greased with mutton tallow served in the 
lack of rubbers, which did not come into use before 1850. The odor 
from the first rubbers was so offensive as to prevent them being kept 
in a warm room. 



GEORGE RECORD HOME 

The George Record Home, lately owned by Tarr Bros., originally 
belonged to the Nathaniel Gary farm. The house, a one and one half 
story cottage, was occupied by several generations of the Record family. 



48 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

George Record, who lived there in 1866, had two sons and a daughter. 
It is tradition that during the Civil War, fearing his sons would be 
drafted, he hid them in the cellar and garret, to make baskets, which 
he marketed at a profit. 

Being a very thrifty family and the last of the "oldtimers" the two 
brothers, George and James, were often seen out with their oxen, on 
their fine valley farm, laying up stone walls. They were known as 
the "Record Boys," were great hunters and trappers, always began 
their work at the break of day, and lived well beyond three score and ten. 

In business, only cash, never checks, was accepted by the Records. 
They were among the largest depositors in the local banks. After the 
death of the last of the three, aboiu 1900, the property passed to a rel- 
ative, and tradition says that in making repairs on the cellar walls, a 
large sum of money was discovered. 

At the present time this is a large and productive cattle farm, in- 
cluding a very large barn, said to be one of the largest in the state. 

The May place became the home of Ithamar May in 1787, when he 
"took possession of a fine farm east of Prospect Hill." He married first 
a Miss Sabin, descendant of John Sabin, and it is probable that the "fine 
farm" mentioned in Larned's History, came from the Sabin land. Ill 
fate hovered over the marriage of the Ithamar Mays, as in less than a 
year the bride took her own life, and from that time the house was con- 
sidered haunted. This "haunted" house burned and the present house 
was built. It was of the May house that Louise Chandler Moulton 
wrote her story of "The Haunted House." 

The home of Mrs. Irving Beebe stands on the site of the home- 
stead of Dr. Waldo, Pomfret's Revolutionary doctor. The Waldo prop- 
erty extended to the site of the Pomfret Church. The old Waldo house 
was moved by Benjamin Grosvenor down the road that runs east of 
the church, and for many years was used as a boarding house. 

Louise Chandler Moulton, Pomfret poetess, who died in 1908, spent 
her girlhood at Elmwood, present home of Vinton Freedley. She was 
the great granddaughter of Hannah Sharpe Cleveland, heroine of the 
"pink satin," and cousin of Caroline Fairfield Corbin, the "bride of 
Goat Rock." 

POMFRET CENTER 1 and Route 44 

1. Gary School House, built 1846-50. First school here was built in 1733, 
when four districts were set off. Owned by J. J. Liguz. 

2. Map — Quaker Meeting House, Quaker Road. Burned 1920. 

3. New Community School, built 1947-48. 

4. Chandler School House, Ragged Hill, owned by Asa Lee. 

5. Map — Oliver Ingalls. Marks site of dwelling of Orin Marcy, blacksmith 
from 1818. In Abington Burying Ground is the anvil on which two generations 
of Marcy's worked. W. E. Marcy, last of the family blacksmiths, died in 1946. 
House owned by Mrs. W. E. Marcy. 5 generations have made Marcy Hollow 
their home. 

6. Map— W. Sessions. "Hillside," owned by Frederick W. Hillmann. 

7. Map — Charles Osgood. Was Jos. Elliott home. Owned by Robert Mc- 
Laughlin. 

8. Map — Samuel Dresser. Was Frank Haine's home. Owned by J. R. Cooke. 



"■WK^ 







LOUISE CHANDLER MOULTON 51 

Louise Moulton was born on Ragged Hill (John Peterson house) 
which she commemorates in her poem— 

"My thoughts go back to the little brown house 

With its low roof sloping to the east, 

With its garden fragrant with roses and thyme. 

That blossom no longer except in rhyme. 

Afar in the west the great hills rose 

Silent and steadfast, and gloomy and gray. 

I thought they were giants, and doomed to keep 

Their watch while the world should wake or sleep 

Till the trumpet should sound on the Judgment Day. 

And I was young, tho the hills were old 

And the world was warm with the warmth of spring. 

And the roses red, and the lilac white 

Budded and bloomed for my heart's delight. 

And the birds in my heart began to sing." 

POMFRET CENTER 2 

1. Map — S. Dana. Jacob Ben'j. and Daniel Dana were among the first twelve 
proprietors of Pomfret. Owned by Edgar Hurdis. 

2. Pomfret's second depot, built 1904. 

3. Field — Johnson homestead. Mr. and Mrs. Johnson in foreground, taken in 
1880's. Owned by Kenneth Bosworth. Jeremiah Field of Providence, R.I. pur- 
chased in 1777, of Thomas Angell, 175 acres on the sightly hills east of the Mash- 
amoquet, coming to Pomfret about the same time as did the Randalls and 
Higginbotham, at that period when the British were ravaging the Rhode Island 
coast. 

Many families came to Connecticut bringing their flocks and herds. The 
Fields were Baptists, active in the early Baptist movement in Pomfret. Wm. 
Field was one of the founders of the Abington Library in 1793, when shares were 
sold at 12 shillings. 

In the little family burying ground about an eighth of a mile north of the 
dwelling on the old trail which connected him with the Needle's Eye Road (one 
of the oldest in town) we read the names of this pioneer family on fourteen old 
marble slabs. Among them is the inscription: 

"In memory of 

Dea. Jeremiah Field 

Born in Providence, R.I. 

July 14, 1716 

Died Pomfret, Connecticut 

April 26, 1815 

Know Thyself 

and Know Thy God" 
According to town records, John D. Johnson acquired the farm before 1860. 
The Fields are no longer residents of Pomfret. Wm. Field, born in Pomfret 
in 1790, died 1878, was at one time Lieut. Governor of Connecticut. Harold F. 
Field, Treasurer of Putnam Savings Bank, is a descendant of this family. 

4. Map — Wm. Dirga. One of several restored colonial houses in Pomfret. 
Owned by Boris Archer. 

5. Map — Averill. One of three Averill homesteads. Owned by Lawrence Ryan. 

6. Map — AveriU. Wolf Den Farm on High Ridge Road, owned by Wm. C. 
Hotchkin. One of the finest colonial houses in Pomfret. 

7. Map — Jos. Gilbert. Owned by County Commissioner Allen AveriU. 

8. Map — Averill. Louis Averill farm, built 1837, home of the late Misses 
Clara and Lena AveriU. Taken in 1880's. Owned by Mrs. Edna Sharp. 



52 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

BRIDE OF GOAT ROCK 

Perhaps the wedding of Caroline Fairfield had the most romantic 
setting of any to take place in Pomfret. In the wilds of the Wolf Den 
woods, she and Calvin R. Corbin took the sacred vows of matrimony. 

She was a Pomfret girl, although her birthplace was near Quasset 
Pond, in Woodstock. Her girlhood home had been in the north of 
Abington, near Sabin Comer, on the south side of the road. Her hus- 
band, Calvin Corbin, came from one of Thompson's oldest families. 
After making their home in New York, they went to Chicago, where for 
fifty years she took an active interest in moral reform, and was one of 
the original founders of the association for the advancement of women, 
but she was much against woman suffrage. Perhaps she was not all 
wrong, if so-called "Women's Rights" have made them forget their 
womanhood and claim the right to smoke and frequent drinking places. 

On her last trip abroad, she had a personal interview with Ex- 
Emperor William and the Pope of Rome, in the interest of Anti-Suffrage. 

TYOTT ROAD 

On the Tyott Road, which skirts the western slope of Pomfret Hill, 
are a few old homes worthy of mention, among them the pleasant home 
of Miss Helen Mabie, artist, commanding a lovely view of the intervale 
and the distant hills of South Woodstock. 

It was originally the home of Seth Grosvenor, purchased in 1785 
by Jabez Dennison. The Dennison family were prominent in the early 
Separates and Baptist movement in the County— a time when it took 
courage to fight for free speech and one's religious convictions; when a 
poor man's cow or pig could be seized for Priest Tax. 

The story is told of a church dissenter being flogged on Ashford 
Green for non-attendance at church, when a stranger rode up and 
shouted "Oh ye men of Ashford, ye serve God as though the devil was 
in ye", then putting spurs to his horse, galloped on out of town. 

After the Dennisons, the farm was long owned by Judge Charles 
C. Chandler, prominent citizen of Pomfret. Nathan N. Chandler owned 
the property in 1856, bequeathing it to his daughter, Maria, wife of 
Luther Day, whose father, Col. Calvin Day, owned the Edgar Bosworth 
farm (Goodenough) in Pomfret Center. 

PETER THOMPSON TAVERN, THE DR. OVERLOOK HOUSE, 
NOW OWNED BY MR. E. W. MOON 

Peter Thompson came from Massachusetts in 1817, and opened 
his house as a tavern, at the height of the Stage Coach days over the 
turnpike, 1800-1845. 



PETER THOMPSON TAVERN 53 

His place became famous for Masonic Meetings, Courts, and all 
public gatherings. Here was the birthplace of the Windham County 
Agricultural Society in 1820, where meetings were held before the new 
society removed to Brooklyn, and erected buildings. 

From the corner at Peter Thompson's Tavern, the distance to 
Brooklyn was given as 7 miles, to Norwich 27, Providence 30, Hartford 
40, Boston 60. 

After 1848 prosperous days for the tavern were over, especially after 
the establishing of temperance societies. Town meetings in Pomfret 
were lively, held in Abington meeting-house until the town house was 
built a year later. 

We have some record of famous meetings when the best men of 
both parties were aroused over the three major subjects of the day, 
peace, anti-slavery, and temperance. Feeling ran so high that many 
stages refused to carry temperance papers. 

The old tavern house suffered from fire which swept the building 
when closed, and stood for some time before being rebuilt, to become 
the home of Pomfret's doctors. 

Windham's First Temperance Society was formed in 1826. Pom- 
fret organized its first society in January 1829. An idea of the excite- 
ment concerning the temperance movement is given in the "Connecticut 
Observer" of February 1840, written by Elisha Lord, son of Dr. Elisha 
Lord, Pomfret's first physician, from which these extracts are gleaned. 
In 1830 the Rev. John Marsh, of Brooklyn, gave an address on tem- 
perance, entitled "Putnam and the Monster Destroyed," that aroused 
the people. Briefly he spoke of the story of Putnam and the wolf, then 
reminded his audience that they had met that day to fight "a more 
terrible monster, and whose destruction would require Putnam courage." 

From that time, "Putnam Courage" became the slogan of the early 
temperance societies. During a revival of religion held at Abington 
Church in 1831, the "dealers of spirits in Abington Society became 
convinced of the unrighteousness of its traffic and forsook it." Much 
credit is due these men, inasmuch as they were mostly Innkeepers, 
serving the public on heavily traveled roads. One of these places was 
the old Sumner Inn, another the Ingalls Inn on Abington Common. 
Strong drink had also been sold at the Four Corners Store. 

In January 1840 a town meeting was called to vote on No License. 
The town went dry 61-49. The enraged Wets warned a second meeting, 
which did even better for the Drys, 125-80. "Putnam Courage" had 
prevailed. Pomfret remained a No License town for over a hundred 
years, when the work of our forefathers was undone in town meeting. 

POMFRET LIBRARY AND CLUBS 

Pomfret was the first town in eastern Connecticut to establish a 
public library (1740). It was first called the "United Society for Propa- 



54 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

gating Christian and Useful Knowledge." It was organized with thirty 
members — men from Pomfret, Woodstock, Killingly and Mortlake 
(Brooklyn). The first meeting was held at Rev. Ebenezer Williams' 
home, and for many years the minister was librarian. Forty books were 
purchased. Connecticut's first library was established Oct. 30, 1733, and 
comprised 150 volumes, known as the Durham Book Co. By 1738 Yale, 
Lyme, and Guilford had libraries. 

Before the present day library was built, the books had been kept at 
Pomfret's old Community House on Pomfret Street. 

The present building was a gift from Mrs. G. I. Bradley, a memorial 
to her husband, who was long one of Pomfret's wealthy residents. The 
Bradley mansion was destroyed by fire about 1922. Mr. Bradley, when 
a young man, was a representative of the then new telephone company, 
traveling in this and foreign countries with a six horse band wagon. 
He is understood to have been one of the first stockholders. 

On the Bradley estate is a mineral spring, that in the early settle- 
ment was largely used for medicinal purposes. 



GAY DAYS OF POMFRET 

In 1892 the Pomfret Club was incorporated by some of the leading 
townspeople, to provide entertainment for summer guests. The club 
house "Greystoke", joined the old Pomfret Hall, which was razed in 
1935. Six acres of land were laid out in golf and tennis courts. 



POMFRET PHYSICIANS 

1738-1948 

Dr. Thomas Mather, of Suffield, Mass., was the first medical man 
in Pomfret, coming the year after Esther Grosvenor died, 1738. He 
settled on Ragged Hill, buying land of Samuel Nightingale on the old 
Post Road, not far from the present Spring Farm. It is not likely that 
his record was better than that of Mrs. Grosvenor, who had cared for 

POMFRET CENTER 3 

1. Toll Gate House on Prov. and Hartford Pike, now Route 101. Built 1800-40. 
Owned by Melvin Zellar. 

2. Map — M. Haskell Hotel. Built in staging days on corner of Prov.-Hartford 
and Norwich-Worcester turnpikes. Owned by Mrs. Hugh Kelley. 

3. Pomfret Town House 1840. 

4. Map — Col. Day. Second colonial house built on site. Owned by A. G. Good- 
enough. (Edgar Bosworth Farm). 

5. Gilbert F. Pratt School House, now Covell-Ayer Post No. 170, American 
Legion. 

6. Map— Walter Webb. Owned by T. F. Hanley. 

7. Map — Samuel Hastings. Homestead of Benj. Sabin 1st, Representative of 
town. Now Pomfret GoLf Course. 



POMFRET PHYSICIANS 57 

the sick and ushered in the new-born. He remained in Pomfret until 
1761. 

Dr. David Hall, also of Suffield, took his place, buying land on Pom- 
fret Street, at Overlock's corner. He built his residence on the corner 
east of the World War Monuments, where only a growth of lilies re- 
main to mark the site of his house and garden. His large wood-colored 
house was moved many years ago to its present location west of the 
Rectory School. Dr. Hall suffered the loss of his wife and young children 
and removed to Vermont. 

He was followed by his younger brother, Dr. Jonathan Hall, who 
was the ancestor of the well-known Hall family of the time. Several 
members of the family went to New York, among them Miss Anne Hall, 
born in Pomfret. She was the first woman in Connecticut, if not in 
the United States, to be elected a member of the National Academy 
of Design. In New York, she devoted her time and talent to the painting 
of miniatures, exquisite faces of children. 

Dr. Jonathan Hall was a plain country doctor, not claiming to 
the airs of some of his family. Tradition says that he had a young 
daughter, Fanny, who had unusual powers of making tables and chairs 
move about the room without touching them. Stories of this reached 
New York, and a brother of Dr. Hall, a business man, hearing it, 
became greatly scandalized. He immediately came to Pomfret to stop 
such slanderous reports about a member of his family. After hearing 
him through, Dr. Hall requested that he meet Fanny. It was a very 
demure young lady who came into the room, seated herself by the side 
of her uncle, and listened to the conversation. Suddenly the tables 
began to tip, and the chairs to move in a most unaccountable fashion. 
Tradition says that the city brother fled from the house in his astonish- 
ment. 

Other doctors at an early period were Dr. Walton, Dr. Waldo, and 
Dr. Fuller, of Brooklyn, Dr. Lord and Dr. Wagner of Abington, also 
Dr. Louis Williams. Pomfret's most notable early physician was Dr. 
Albigence Waldo, son of the Pomfret Pioneer, a young man of energy, 
and much ahead of his time in surgical and medical skill. He served 
in the Revolution as chief surgeon, being obliged to resign his post 
before the close of the war in order to save his family from starvation. 

POMFRET LANDING 1 

1. Map — Jos. Cotton. The Cottons came to Pomfret 1740. An ancient mill 
privilege on this land. Owned by Thomas Grimes. 

2. Map — Benjamin Johnson. Owned by Adolph Jarvis. (Triangle Ranch). 

3. Map— C. D. Williams. Built 1772. Owned by Miss Dorothy Maclnnes. 

4. Map— S. L. Cotton. The Cotton Tavern House. 1770-1819. Owned by Wm, 
S. Sloan. 

5. Map — R. Kingsley. Owned by Edw. White Est. 

6. Map — ^W. Cushing. Owned by Frank Noon. 

7. Map — Sam Underwood. Turnpike Tavern House 1800-1840, Owned by 
Ellery Baker. At right the Cotton twine mill, 1820. 

8. Map — Geo. Webb. Owned by Mrs. Horace Covell. At right the Hildreth 
house, owned by Frank Larrow. 



58 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

Continental money had become so reduced in value as to be nearly 
worthless, and many army officers were reduced to poverty. 

Dr. Waldo was a man of great and wide reputation. The late 
Dr. Overlook had in his possession account books which gave the record 
of a trip made by Dr. Waldo to New Hampshire to set the bone in a 
soldier's leg. The trip was made on horseback, and the charge was 
seven dollars. He was a leader in the Masonic Order, and a writer 
on medical topics. He aided General Putnam in writing the detailed 
story of his famous adventure with the wolf, for Col Humphrey's biog- 
raphy of General Putnam, in 1788, from which the account given in 
these papers is taken. Dr. Waldo's death in 1793 at the age of forty- 
four was considered a great loss to the town and county. 

Dr. Thomas Hubbard took Dr. Waldo's place, which he ably 
filled until 1820, when Dr. Hiram Holt, of Hampton, a student of Dr. 
Hubbard, took the practice, remaining in Pomfret for many years. 

In 1849 Dr. Louis Williams, a descendant of Mr. Seth Williams 
of Raynham, Mass., who came to Pomfret in 1791, purchased the 
Peter Thompson Inn, where he dwelt and cared for the sick until 
the late seventies, when Dr. F. G. Sawtelle took his place, purchasing 
the big tavern house from Dr. Williams. He practiced in town for 
two decades, and was here at the time of the blizzard of 1888. 

Dr. Seldom B. Overlock followed Dr. Sawtelle, also buying the 
Thompson Inn, before 1900. He was long associated with Day-Kimball 
Hospital as a surgeon of skill. He was the beloved family doctor 
of Pomfret through the long years of his practice, and passed away 
in 1934. 

Dr. William MacShepard then became the resident doctor of Pom- 
fret, but soon removed to his family home in Putnam. 

Dr. Bruce Valentine, of Brooklyn, N.Y., settled in Abington in 
1947, at the Eliza Fairfield Clark Memorial Center, a foundation of 
great benefit to the locality, which was established by Dr. John Clark, 
a retired Massachusetts doctor, who had long been a resident of Ab- 
ington. 



THE BLIZZARD OF 1888 

From a paper written by Dr. Sawtelle about the storm, we take 
the following facts: The winter of 1888 had been very hard, with 
much sickness. The storm of March 12 broke very suddenly. The 
morning had been dull gray, with brisk, chill, west wind. At 3 o'clock 
fits of snow began to fall, with increasing rapidity and rising wind. 
At 4 o'clock Dr. Sawtelle started from his house to visit a patient on 
Pomfret Street, with a horse and sleigh. Soon he returned for a 
saddle, thinking to make the trip on horseback. Again he was forced 
to turn back, as the drifts rose so fast the horse could make no head- 



THE BLIZZARD OF 1888 59 

way. Not to be discouraged he detennined to make the trip on foot, 
as his patient was only three quarters of a mile away. 

In company with his hostler, a strong Swede, he started again. 
It was 6 o'clock when they ventured again out into the blackness of 
the storm and night, trusting to find the way with a lantern. The road 
was drifted full, and they tried walking on the broad stone walls, but 
were continually blown off bv the irresistible winds. The lantern hit 
on a rock and was useless. They staggered along in the darkness. A 
fourth of a mile from his home (Overlock Corner) the road crosses 
a slight valley some twenty rods wide, through which the tempest 
raged, as the doctor records: "we featherweights of humanity were 
blown right across the road into an open field of many acres,— not 
knowing where we were on such a night, abroad in the drifts and 
freezing air, with clasped hands we clung together, only to be hurled 
flat by the fiendish winds— we crawled along— somewhere— anywhere- 
only to keep moving. The cold was so great no overcoat would keep 
us warm, so benumbed, we struggled on, knowing that to stop meant 
death. Facing it for a moment, an icy helmet would form, requiring 
repeated breaking to breathe or see. At last we reached a fence, and 
clinging to it for support, hope came that it would lead us to a house. 
Just as our courage and strength became exhausted, the dark walls of 
a house loomed up before us. It proved to be a closed summer cot- 
tage, but it afforded shelter from the wind." They then knew they had 
reached the street, and they dug their way through the drifts, until in 
a condition of collapse they fell upon the piazza of the Ben Grosvenor 
Inn. Too weak to stand they lay upon the floor and kicked the wall. 
Benjamin Grosvenor opened the door at last, and took them in. Surely 
never were guests more grateful than were Dr. Sawtelle and the faith- 
ful hostler. At noon the next day they reached their homes on snow- 
shoes. In the morning when the snow abated, it was piled nearly to the 
second story windows. Entirely impassible roads were broken out 
with many yokes of oxen. 

On that terrible Monday night when Dr. Sawtelle was struggling 
through the storm, two less fortunate people perished on the Pomfret 
Landing Road. They were Fred Hopkins, and his housekeeper, Mrs. 
Whitney, both elderly people. They evidently left the house at dark 
to feed the cattle, but never reached the bam. They were found 
clinging to a fence a few hundred feet away from the house. She was 
still grasping a lantern and a bunch of keys. Preparations had been 
made for the evening meal, meat, bread, and a plate of buckwheat 
cakes, which had been tightly covered to keep warm, were on the 
table. For a week they lay buried beneath the snow. A great drift 
by their front gate was shoveled away and at last a search was made 
for them. Cattle, sheep and horses were found starving in the barn, 
some already dead. 

At that time Ezra Dresser still lived at the old Dresser homestead, 
and C. B. Carpenter at the Carpenter place. Horace Covell of Pom- 



60 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

fret Landing, then a young man, was employed by Mr. Carpenter, and 
was one of the rescue party. Mr. Hopkins was buried in the old Bruce 
Burying Ground on the Landing Road. 

It is on record that some of the snow from the big blizzard re- 
mained in the woods until June. 



WALTER DAVIS HOUSE, 
THE THOMAS WILLIAMS HOMESTEAD 

The fine old house on Route 44 between Pomfret Street and Put- 
nam, now owned by Walter Davis, is shown on the map as Willard Wil- 
liams, who for many years was a large land owner in town. His father 
came to Pomfret after 1827, from Stonington, Conn. 

He could hardly have chosen a more sightly location for his 
home, commanding a view of the distant hills of Thompson and Kil- 
lingly. His daughter, Lydia Ann Williams, at twenty married Angell 
Wheaton. 

Much interested in orcharding, his farm across the road from his 
father-in-law, on the corner of Tyrone Road, has been known for many 
years as the Orchards. Mrs. Wlieaton was a descendant of Roger Wil- 
liams, founder of Providence, R.I. 

The old Williams house is of the early architecture— wooden peg- 
ging throughout. Although much remodeling has been done, the kit- 
chen ell still retains the old fireplaces and brick oven. The place has 
been known in recent years as the Wilcox, and Hickey place. The hill 
is still known as Hickey Hill. 

Thomas Williams purchased the property in 1846, from Payson 
Grosvenor. As shown by town records, the Grosvenors were original 
land owners in this section. 



POMFRET LANDING 2 

1. View of Pomfret Landing, drawn from memory by Chas. Aldrich. See 
Chas. Aldrich story. 

2. Pomfret Landing's first school house. 

3. Pomfret Landing's second school house, discontinued 1948. Owned by 
Eugene Anthol. 

4. Map — E. Bruce. River Road. Last dwelling on Sawyer-Bruce homestead, 
where settlement began 1707. Owned by Mrs. N. P. Peace. 



CHAPTER VI 



OUR RHODE ISLAND NEIGHBORS AND GENERAL PRESCOTT 

During the Revolution, Rhode Island suffered greatly from the 
effects of the war, although only one battle was fought on her terri- 
tory—the Battle of Butts Hill in Portsmouth, in August 1778, also 
called the "Battle of Rhode Island." Her 400 miles of coast line lay 
open to the ravages of war, causing the inhabitants near the coast to 
flee inland, many coming to Connecticut and making new homes. 
Connecticut, as well as Massachusetts and New Hampshire, sent militia 
to their aid. 

While stationed at Warwick Neck, a company under Col. Wil- 
liam Barton, gave protection to a runaway negro, body servant of Major 
General Prescott, then stationed at Butts Hill. The negro, Quanto 
Henneman, fled the camp when he learned he was about to be sold, 
and was able to advise Col. Barton of the location of the British who 
had taken an American officer. General Lee, prisoner. Col. Barton, 
hoping to capture Prescott and exchange him for General Lee, gained 
the consent of his commander, and with 40 volunteers and the guidance 
of Quanto, set out on the evening of July 9th, 1777 in five boats from 
Warwick Neck, between Patience and Prudence Islands, evading the 
British ships in the Bay, and landed on the west side of Rhode Island 
in North Portsmouth, 

Quanto had told them that on sultry nights General Prescott 
spent the night at a lonely farmhouse owned by the Overell family, on 
a mill stream with a double waterfall. Landing on the Island, they 
stole silently up the ravine, and skirted the guardhouse. They over- 
powered the guard at the door; Quanto breaking in a panel with his 

POMFRET LANDING and NORTH BROOKLYN 

1. Map — P. & H. Dyer. Bush Hill Farm. Owned by Hillandale Corporation, 
W. V. Williams, Supt. Homestead land of Pomfret's first minister. Rev. Ebenezer 
Williams. 

2. Map — Hibbard. Faraway Farm, owned by C. W. Green. 

3. Map — E. Warren. Site of Wiltshire Manor. Owned by Mrs. Arthiir Lapsley. 
See Israel Putnam. 

4. Map — ^Willard Hubbard. Owned by Wm. Valentime. See Wiltshire Farm 
House. 

5. Map — Henry Reynolds. Woods Hill. The Kingswood Tavern House, burned. 
Owned by Chas. L. Kimball. 

6. Map— W. Baxter. Idle Wild Farm. Built before 1800. Though much re- 
modeled, retains its colonial beauty. Owned by J. Makowsky. 

7. Map — Elisha Child. An 18th century house. Owned by E. Newton Searles. 

8. Map — Ehsha Child. Another 18th century house, owned by Arthur Kimball. 



64 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

head. They seized General Prescott, going back to the shore the shortest 
way, through a field of rye stubble and blackberry bush, greatly to 
the discomfort of the General who had had no time to dress. 

He was wrapped in Barton's cloak, and the boats pulled away 
for the opposite shore, directly under the bow of one British man-of-war, 
where the General could hear the sentinel cry out "All's Well." 

Prescott was sent to Providence in a chaise, and Quanto for his 
own reward was brought to Pomfret, where he was given his freedom 
and cared for by the town the rest of his life, at Pomfret's first town 
poorhouse, in Abington. 

Prescott was detested by friend and foe, and "independent of the 
humiliation and disgrace attached to such a capture, the British troops 
were overjoyed to find that he had been so suddenly snatched from his 
command." 

History fails to state whether there was ever an exchange of pris- 
oners, but the capture of General Prescott was greeted with hilarity 
and wildly "celebrated in song and story." 

The fact that Lieutenant Kingsbury, of the Pomfret Kingsbury 
family, was in command of the militia in Rhode Island in 1777 would 
likely explain why old Quanto was brought to and cared for in Pomfret. 



THE LOST VILLAGE OF THE HILLS 

We read of the deserted villages of the cut-over lands of the north- 
west, but few know that Pomfret has its lost village where long ago 
the large family of Higginbothams lived and carried on a thriving busi- 
ness, their little mill being known as the Higginbotham Linen Wheels 
for hand spinning. The Higginbothams lived in their little settlement 
in the hills cultivating their fertile farms. 

Before the march of progress carried away the business of the little 
mill, their business prospered for three generations, and the thrifty 
inhabitants settled down by their comfortable firesides to enjoy the 
fruits of their life's labor, until they were, one by one, laid to rest in 
the little burying ground; the burying ground that they themselves 
had made ready and walled in against all intrusion; and there from 
the leaning headstones of their graves we learn the identity of these 
sturdy people. 

Today great trees are growing in the cellar holes of their homes, 
and the trails that once led from house to house, and to their mill, are 
overgrown and hard to follow. The orchards that they planted are 
crowded now by undergrowth, but yet they stand, though broken and 
bent by the storms of over a century of winter; yet blooming still with 
each returning spring, symbolic of the everlasting life; and drop their 
fruitage in the fall, unheeded and uncared for. In spite of flood, the 



LOST VILLAGE OF THE HILLS 65 

old stone bridge built by Higginbotham over the brook above his mill 
pond remains intact. 

From the summit of this height spreads a marvelous view. To the 
north the range of old Ragged Hills continue, encircling westward to 
Allen and Pisgah Hills, in an unbroken chain of rugged wilderness. As 
in a panorama, we comprehend the vastness of the forests of long ago, 
and over all a peaceful silence reigns, and keeps a vigil on the lost 
village in the hills. 

It is a family tradition that the first settler, Obadiah Higginbotham 
(1750-1803) was a deserter from the British Army. As he came to Pom- 
fret from Cranston, R.I., he must have been stationed at Providence 
or Newport. Like the modern G.I. he found his bride, Dorcas, while 
in camp, and perhaps the fear of being separated from his little family 
prompted him to desert and escape into Connecticut, coming to Pom- 
fret before 1780, as his fourth child, Darius, was born in Pomfret. He 
was the ancestor of the present Botham family. 

Higginbotham came to Pomfret about the same time as did Jona- 
than Randall, who also came from Cranston, R.I. There is no record 
or tradition regarding this coincidence, yet it seems plausible that there 
was a tie between the two families, as the Randalls were buried in the 
little Higginbotham burying ground. 

The Randall family were very well-to-do, coming to Pomfret with 
many slaves, some of whom were buried in the same plot. These negroes 
were quite superstitious, believing that ghosts sat at night in a certain 
elm tree near the cemetery, and nothing could induce them to pass 
there after dark. The late Mary Webster, and Mrs. Lucretia Taylor, 
were descendants of these negroes. 

A stranger in a strange land, young Higginbotham was able to 
make some arrangements with the Peter Cunningham family, and es- 
tablish himself on Nightingale Brook, where it narrowed quickly in 
its descent, and flowed through a natural basin. 

In this wild and lonely spot he built his first cabin, and brought 
his little family. As there is no record of his buying land before 1800, 
his substantial home, built on the bluff above the stone bridge could 
not have been built before that date. The walls and cellar of this 
house show the finest workmanship. There was a great stone chimney 
in the center, which the elements have never disturbed. Near the 
broad south doorstone remains the old well and leach stone where the 
ash barrel stood, for leaching the lye Dorcas used in making her soft 
soap. The fields he cleared and cultivated lie open upon the sunny hill. 

The Higginbotham family have not only left their hamlet but 
have also dropped the "Higgin" part of the name. George Botham of 
Abington is of the fourth generation from Obadiah Higginbotham. 
His great-grandmother, Dorcas, died in 1849 at the great age of one 
hundred years, having lived over seventy years in this wild region, and 
is buried in "God's Acre of the Hills," the Higginbotham Burying 



66 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

Ground, as are the parents of George. He has inherited the frontier 
spirit of his fathers, and devotes much time, in season, to trapping. 

Mrs. Ahce Botham Edwards, of Hampton, a descendant of Oba- 
diah, in youth lived in the house on the bluff. A trail then passed 
this house to the Lewin place on the east side of Nightingale Brook. 
There was also a large dwelling west of the brook, both of early origin. 

Once a heavy gate swung across the road by the big house, on 
which the children delighted to swing. This was opened and shut in 
traveling the road, a primitive custom. 

As late as Civil War Days, great flocks of sheep still roamed the 
hill pastures and were washed at shearing time in the mill pond back 
of the stone bridge, and broad fields were still under cultivation, now 
choked with undergrowth. 

Other lineal descendants of the original settler are the families of 
Fred Botham and Mrs. Emily Botham Horton. 



JONATHAN RANDALL FARMSTEAD 

A broad ten acre lot divided the old and new Randall houses. On 
this ten acres, tradition tells us, Washington and Lafayette's armies 
camped when one of the divisions of the French Army, marching from 
Newport to Hartford, by the northern route through Killingly, Pom- 
fret and Ashford. This gives foundation for the story, but assertion 
is also made that the two great Generals passed together over the road 
at a later date, spending the night at the Grosvenor House in Pom- 
fret, and waiting for breakfast at the hearthstone of the old Randall 
house. Then they dined at the Clark Tavern in Ashford, where their 
names were to be seen upon an antique window pane. Another tra- 
dition is that it was on the window pane of the old church where Wash- 
ington wrote his name. Could this be in a footnote? The Clark Tav- 
ern was burned many years ago, but the window pane, it is claimed, 
had been previously taken to Hartford. 

It is a matter of history that Rochambeau's Main Army in 1781 
marched in four divisions through Voluntown, Plainfield, Canterbury 
and Windham to Silver Lane, East Hartford, where they were encamped. 
They were followed, day after day, by stout baggage wagons and carts, 
bearing chests of silver, guarded by French soldiers. Tradition says 
the soldiers were paid in silver while encamped near Hartford, and 
because of their free spending, the name of Silver Lane was given to 
the road. 

In 1840 George Randall, Jr., engaged in the manufacture of shoes 
in a shop just east of his dwelling, which employed many hands, the 
shoes marketed in Southbridge. In time the Old Bay State Shoe and 
Leather Co. absorbed the Randall industry. Geo. Randall was the 
grandfather of the late Mrs. Eliza Fairfield Clark of Abington (Mrs. 
John D. Clark V 



CUNNINGHAM MANSION 1790 67 

The old Randall house was last occupied by Miss Betty Randall, 
who died in 1893, aged 84. She was the last to be inteixed in the old 
Higginbotham Burying Ground. 

The Randall property, together with other large tracts in this 
section, totalling 5000 acres, was purchased by Mrs. Charlotte Gros- 
venor Goodridge, who had planned to convert the old Randall house 
into a mansion for herself, but instead went to live with her son, Dr. 
Frederick Goodridge. The second house built on the place is now the 
home of Mrs. Ethel Goodridge Barber. 

CUNNINGHAM MANSION 1790 

In early days, as one crossed the bridge at Lyon's Mills, he came 
to the big gates on the west side of the road which closed the Cunning- 
ham grounds to all intruders. There stood a spacious three story house 
built by Peter Cunningham, a retired sea captain. His wife, a grand- 
daughter of Thomas Morey, one of the first twelve proprietors of the 
Purchase, was Miss Elizabeth Pierpont of Boston. Her wealth, gowns, 
china, furniture, and "chariots," as all four wheeled vehicles were called, 
were the wonder of the countryside. 

The Cunninghams came to Pomfret during the Revolution, and 
for the first few years lived in a small house at Taft's Pond. The beau- 
tiful elms that grace the lawn were set out the year the mansion was 
built. 

It was here the first little schoolhouse was built in 1733, near the 
present big north gate "just over the bridge at Lyon's Mills." 

Dr. F. G. Goodridge, son of Mrs. Charlotte Grosvenor Goodridge, 
was born in 1874, graduated from Harvard in 1897, with a B.A. degree, 
and was also a graduate of College of Physicians and Surgeons of Colum- 
bia University. Receiving his M.D. in 1901, he had a wide medical 
experience, was a writer and instructor, and accompanied Commander 
Peary into the frozen north in research work. He was an officer of the 
5th Division in the World War, and saw much active service, retired 
in 1919 with the rank of Major. As an ardent sportsman he took great 
pride in his Pomfret estate. In 1901 he married Miss Ethel M. Iselin, 
and to them were born four children, Frederick, Jr., Helen, Iselin, and 
Ethel Grosvenor (Mrs. Ethel Barber), who now resides at the Randall 
Goodridge farmstead. 

The Cunningham mansion was closed soon after the death of Dr. 
Goodridge in 1930. Like many other estates, it had greatly depreciated 
during the depression of 1929, and was sold to Grover C. Bowen, an 
Eastford bachelor, who made his home in the kitchen ell of the house. 

On the morning of December 27, 1944, flames were seen bursting 
from the upper northeast windows. The roads were sheeted with ice, 
and before the Pomfret Fire Company could arrive, the house was in 
ruins. Mr. Bowen was lost in the fire, his body later found in the cellar. 



68 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

WHEATON 

About 1775, James Wheaton of Swansea, Mass. settled on the sum- 
mit of Ragged Hill. The Wheatons came from Wales in 1630 to Re- 
hoboth, Mass. James was of the fifth generation in America. Through 
his six children he left a long line of descendants who have filled places 
of honor in the town and counti^. The little Ragged Hill Schoolhouse 
built in 1798, stood on his land. 

Mrs. Edith Wheaton Smith, of Phoenixville, is descended from 
this family, as is also the large Wheaton family of Putnam. 

Wheaton Hill rises to a height of 848 feet, and from the summit 
on a clear day, many years ago one could count 27 church spires. 

In 1791 Darius Hicks, also of Rehoboth, Mass., came to be a neigh- 
bor of the Wheatons (see map). 

The late George Hicks of Abington, who served his town as first 
selectman for over 30 years, was the last descendant of the Hicks family 
of Wheaton Hill. 



CUD CORNER 

In the depths of Ragged Hill Woods are still visible two grass 
grown rutted trails at the four corners of the old Eastford Road and 
the King's Highway. "Cud Corner" received its name from Cudgel, 
the last of the Indian pupils of the mission school of 1764 on the 
Wheaton farm. 

This school is believed to have been conducted by Willard, son 
of Benjamin Hubbard of the present Valentine fann. The remains of 
the foundation of the old school are still visible. 

A little west of Cud Corner are the crumbling walls of Cudgel's 
house, above the brook that bears his name. 

This is a wild and beautiful spot. The range of Pisgah Hills rises 
majestically above the fields once tilled by the last of Pomfret's Indians. 
Two well traveled roads passed through this locality, one to Sherman's 
Corner and the other to the old turnpike (Route 44) terminating at 
the toll house, site of Elisha Peck's home in 1856, near the house owned 
now by Frank Paine. Lyons Brook supplied the power for Sumner's 
saw mill, and then flowed on to join the Mashamoquet in the heart of 
Ragged Hill Woods. 

The last resident at Cudgel's house was Daniel Hollet. Mrs. Hol- 
let was a descendant of the once prominent Cunningham family. Mr. 
Hollet delighted in following the hounds, for sport but not for the kill, 
as he never carried a gun. This locality has even been a sportsman's 
paradise. 



GEORGE W. TAFT 69 

GEORGE W. TAFT 
INVENTOR OF THE CHAMPION ROAD MACHINE 

Many still remember the ponderous road scrapers that heralded 
the coming of settled roads in the spring, when town crews turned out 
to plow the dirt out of the ditches and deposit it, stones and silt, into 
the middle of the highway. As the hea\y machine passed, drawn by 
six horses, men with hoes picked up the stones and tossed them aside. 
After them came a span of horses dragging a "brush" of white birches, 
and the road work was done for another six months. 

It is hard to imagine what condition the roads could have been in 
before the invention of the road scraper. The old Taft Pond road of 
Pomfret was the first to be improved by the Champion Road Scraper, 
which was invented by Geo. W. Taft, and perfected in 1882. Mr. Taft, 
a hxmber man, purchased the old Sessions Saw Mill on Ragged Hill 
(Taft's Pond) and commenced hauling lumber to Abington Station. 
Finding the old Brooks Road Scraper quite incapable of making the road 
passable for heavy loads, he set to work to invent a better one. His per- 
fected machine was widely sold all over New England. A large factory for 
its manufacture was built at Taft's Pond, and a storehouse at Abington 
Station. Many men were given employment. The business was finally 
moved to Kennett, Penn. Mrs. Ethel Barber is the present owner of 
Taft's Pond. 



THE CHANDLER FAMILY 

The Chandler family, who settled in Woodstock in 1683, were 
descendants of William and Annis Chandler, pioneers of Roxbury, 
Massachusetts (1637). 

John Chandler, one of the early proprietors of Woodstock, settled 
in Eastern Vale (South Woodstock). His home lot lay on the corner 
just north of Mill Brook, bounded north and west by the Common. 
This homestead was sold by his great-giandchildren to Christopher Ar- 
nold in 1804, at the opening of the Arnold Mills. Prosperous years fol- 
lowed, when South \Voodstock was known as Arnoldtown, and some- 
times called "Cod Fish Town" (supposedly because of its "high airs"). 

John Chandler was one of the first Deacons of Woodstock Church. 
As a land owner his holdings were second to those of Major James Fitch 
in the County. Wlien he died in 1721, he bequeathed to his son, Joseph, 
the one-hundred and fourteen acres on the Mashamoquet line and 
also land lying on Mashamoquet Brook. These latter lands were sold 
to Nathaniel Sessions and Richard Dresser and Abel Lyon for home- 
steads. The one-hundred and fourteen acres on the Mashamoquet had 
been continually in the ownership of the Chandler descendants from 



70 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

1700 until their recent purchase by General Carson. This land, bought 
in 1700 for twenty pounds, lay between the Quinebaug and Bark 
Meadow Brook, which was outside the Mashamoquet Purchase. 

The following is taken from the Chandler genealogy: 

General Samuel McClellan of Revolutionary fame, married for his 
first wife, Jemima Chandler, daughter of Captain William Chandler 
of the French and Indian Wars who is buried in the Woodstock Burying 
Ground on the Common where rest the other early members of the 
Chandler family. His monument is a slaty sandstone slab. The inscrip- 
tion, under the crowned head and wings, reads: 

Here lies ye Body of William 
Chandler, Esq. Who Departed 
this life June 20th A. D. 1754 
in ye 57th year of his Age- 
He descended from William 
Chandler & Annis his wife 
that were of ye first Settlers 
in Roxbury, and from him by 
his youngest Sun John- 
Chandler, who moved to this 
Town in ye infancy theirof 
And from him by his Eldest 
Son, John Chandler who 
was ye Father of ye Deceased. 
He left Behind him 7 
Sons & 3 Daughters. 

On the foot-stone of his grave is a dial-face with the hour hand pointing 
to four o'clock, indicating that his day closed before the bright sun of 
his intellect had gone down into the senility. 

His daughter, Jemima, was the fifth child. She was born on March 
10, 1734, and baptised on the 17th, when one week old. She died at 
the age of thirty, leaving four children— the youngest, a babe of ten 

BROOKLYN CENTER 

1. Historic Unitarian Church. 

2. Map — D. P. Tyler. Mortlake House, owned before 1949 by the late Mrs. 
Theodore Roosevelt, Sr. Property of Ehner Brenn. 

3. Map — J. Brown. Kingswood, built by Daniel Putnam, who married Col. 
Malbone's niece. Owned by Daniel Putnam Association. 

4. First Episcopal Church in Conn., built 1769. See Col. Malbone. 

5. Old Court House, now Town Hall. Left — Town Well and Putnam Marker. 

6. Windham County National Bank. 

7. Map — J. Collins. Old Putnam Farm, owned by Hillandale Farm. 

8. Map — Wm. Potter. Owned by Ethelyn Tibbitts. Formerly A. Williams 
homestead. 



THE CHANDLER FAMILY 73 

days. Her life was typical of the lives of the young women of that 
time— birth, baptism, marriage, and death. In going over the genealogies 
of the old families we find that a man usually had three wives, if he 
lived to see his four-score years and ten. Divorce seems not to have 
been a necessity then. 

Jemima Chandler married Samuel McClellan and lived at the old 
McClellan homestead on the old Common at South Woodstock. As 
a second wife, General McClellan married Rachel Abbe of Windham 
in 1766. On the day of the Battle of Lexington, Rachel Abbe rode 
from her father's home in Windham, on horseback, bringing to her 
home in South Woodstock three small elms, which she planted on the 
Common. These elms grew to great size, withstanding the storms 
through more than a century and a half. Seedlings from the three 
"Lexington Elms" have taken root and grown upon the Common near 
the old town well. 

Major McClellan's horse, which he rode through the war, became 
so accustomed to martial music, tradition says, that years after the 
war whenever he heard the drums on training-day, he would leap the 
pasture fence, and take his place in the ranks as proudly as the Captain 
who commanded the company. 

Joseph Chandler, of the one-hundred and fourteen acre Masha- 
moquet farm, married Susannah Perrin in 1708. The Perrins were 
among the first families to settle at the Great Falls (Putnam). With 
twenty pounds and one-hundred and fourteen acres inherited from 
his father, he built his home in the wilderness of Mashamoquet. Joseph 
reared twelve children— the youngest one, Peter, remaining on the farm 
with his father. Three homes were built upon this hearthstone. (Present 
owner Gen'l J. M. Carson.) 

In 1757 Peter Chandler married Mary Hodges, widow of his cousin. 
She was a daughter of a Taunton sea captain. She was considered a 
very beautiful girl, small and slight; a string one-half yard long would 
go around her waist and tie in a bow knot. She had many suitors, and 
that there was much romance and mystery in her young life was dis- 
covered a century later, when a secret drawer was found and opened in 
a butternut bureau which her first husband had made. 

Mary Chandler lived many years at the Chandler homestead, and 
died in 1796, aged sixty-four. She was the mother of fourteen children. 

POMFRET and ABINGTON 

1. Map — N. H. Chandler. Many years the home of the artist. Miss Helen 
Mabie. Owned by Patrick Quigley. 

2. Map — W. A. BrowneU. Owned by W. H. Downer. 

3. Map — J. Baxter. The Jos. Stoddard farm. Owned by Cleo Carter. 

4. Map — P. Sharp. The James Sharp house. Home of 9 generations of 
Sharp family. 

5. Map — Geo. Holbrook. Owned by Ellsworth Chase. 

6. Map — Geo. H. Sharp. Owned by Miss A. and Dr. James Hutchins. 

7. Map — Trowbridge. Owned by Merritt Peck. 

8. Map — W. Trowbridge. Owned by J. Nelson Piatt. 



74 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

Four years prior to her death, Peter sold the old homestead to their 
son, John Wilks Chandler. (See Captain Stedman in Hampton History.) 

John Wilks Chandler was active in all town and military affairs, 
and was commissioned by Jonathan Trumbull as Major of the Fifth 
Regiment of Cavalry. While Captain of a troop of horse, he enter- 
tained his soldiers and neighbors at his own expense at his homestead, 
an event long remembered in Pomfret. He also acted as Selectman 
and school committee-man, and was a Master Mason. He was a firm 
supporter of the old church society in the Oliver Dodge church contro- 
versy; he was also sent as a delegate to the Jeffersonian Convention. 

In 1792 John Wilks Chandler married Mary Stedman of Hampton, 
and Peter Chandler removed to Pomfret Street where he kept tavern 
and a store on land now owned by Pomfret School. 



WILLIAM AND HENRY CHANDLER 

William and Henry Chandler, sons of Mary Hodges Chandler, 
by her first husband, spent their boyhood on the Mashamoquet Farm 
on the Line, and when grown to manhood, were among the many who 
sought new homes in the wilds of New Hampshire, in 1798. 

Henry, lame from childhood, was apprenticed to Samuel Waldo, 
tailor, at the age of 14. The Waldo shop was on the corner, now the 
Wiggins residence. In 1784 young Chandler opened a shop just north 
of the North School, "where he hung out a sign of a full grown cab- 
bage head, to announce to the public that he was ready to do all kinds 
of custom tailoring."— Larned's History. 

But the urge for new adventure and new fields led him to accom- 
pany his brother, William, and thirteen other families to New Hamp- 
shire in 1799, in the new project of forming what they called a Moravian 
community, or United Brethren. The object was to hold all things in 
common. Four directors were appointed, William Chandler being 
chairman. All labored in one field, in the common cause, on the 200 
acre farm belonging to William Chandler, apparently without com- 
plaint, until Henry Chandler made a coat for one of the "world's 
people," which was paid for in grain. When the directors handed over 
the price of the coat to some other family in the Moravian community, 
and his own children were hungry, he became dissatisfied. He could 
not see why a man lazier than himself should profit by his labor. 

William Chandler urged him to be contented, and to do nothing 
which would disrupt the colony, and to give it a fair trial. Came fall 
and the end of the year, and all met to decide whether to continue the 
company, or to disband. It was agreed that any dissatisfied ones should 
simply leave the room, which Henry Chandler did, and others followed 
him. Thus ended perhaps the first communistic movement in New 
England. 



CLEVELAND - CHANDLER HOUSE 75 

When a demand had been made for the division of the year's crop, 
Wilham Chandler had refused to allow anything moved. In his barns 
the hay was stored. His garret was filled with the harvested corn, for 
many had lived in his house. That year bitterness followed, and outsiders 
called it the "Raving, Bewitched Community." 

Rev. Stephen Burroughs, formerly pastor of the Middle Society 
Church of Killingly, was then pastor of the Hanover Parish, and pre- 
dicted from the first that the Community would fail. He said that 
people were too intelligent, and in order to make such a project suc- 
ceed, you must keep them in ignorance. William Chandler was much 
the better off for the experiment of the Moravian Community, and be- 
came the wealthiest man in town. He died in 1844, aged 90 years. Un- 
fortunately, the majority of the Community gained little except experi- 
ence and hardship. 

This valuable farm was situated about four miles west of Dart- 
mouth College. Hanover was an extensive plain with lofty pines, de- 
sirable for settlement as well as for a college, and Dartmouth was 
founded in 1770 by Rev. Eleazer Wheelock, of Lebanon, Connecticut, 
as a missionary school for Indians and white boys. Daniel Webster, 
having Indian blood, attended Dartmouth. Dr. Wheelock found sup- 
port for his labors in the example of the prophet Elisha, who founded 
"a school for prophets in the wilderness of Jordan."— Kings II, v7. 

The present Center School Building in Columbia, Connecticut, 
is the same building which housed the school for Indians taught by 
Eleazer Wheelock, before he went to Hanover. 



CLEVELAND-CHANDLER HOUSE 
(Present owner A. H. Paine) 

A short distance from Sabin Corner, and set back on the north 
side of the road among fine old trees, is a small low house which has 
a pleasant background romance of early days. It was here that Hannah 
Sharpe Cleveland, the heroine of the Revolutionary "pink satin" story 
spent her wedded life. 

In 1780, before the great struggle was over, Hannah Sharpe and 
young Solomon Cleveland were planning their marriage, and the one 
major obstacle seemed to have been obtaining material for a wedding 
dress, other than homespun. By tradition a young lady's wedding dress 
should be of silk or satin, and should last a lifetime, perhaps to be worn 
by a granddaughter. 

As the old saying "love laughs at locksmiths," so love broke down 
all prejudice. In this era supplies were becoming more plentiful. They 
were being brought to Norwich by privateers and smugglers; muslins, 
laces, silks and jewelry were also obtainable. But patriotism forbade the 
good people of Pomfret to buy of the peddlers who came to their door. 



76 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

When young Hannah Sharpe opened the door to one of them on 
that eventful day long ago, and saw the pink satin that was the one 
thing her heart desired, she forgot the troubles of the past years, the 
expense that her father had borne on account of the war: his taxes, 
bounties, clothing sent to the soldiers, and the good money advanced 
by him for the cause, and paid back to him in worthless script. Full 
well she knew his dislike for these peddlers who traded with their 
enemies, but at that moment girlish love of finei7 overcame all else, 
and risking her father's anger in one silent appeal, she took the satin, 
and kneeling before him as he sat in his great armchair before the fire, 
she help up the beautiful material. The heart of the stern Revolutionary 
father was touched, and without a word he arose and, going to his 
treasure box, he unlocked it and handed her the forty silver dollars 
to pay for the ten yards of pink satin, enough to make the dress, and 
also for the bridegioom a pink satin waistcoat. 

As was the custom in those days, some time during the first Sab- 
bath after their marriage, they arose during the service and turned 
slowly around several times, so that all might see their wedding outfit, 
and it is doubtful if a more splendant couple ever graced the Pomfret 
meeting-house. 

Three years later a daughter, Hannah, was born to Solomon and 
Hannah Sharpe Cleveland, who grew to womanhood in the little Cleve- 
land homestead at the foot of Ragged Hill, a neighbor to Silas Chand- 
ler (Carlton Shaw house). 

Hannah Cleveland once returned from a visit to friends in the far 
distant Vermont, the trip being made on horseback. Riding up to call 
on her neighbor, young Charles Chandler, she dismounted before the 
east front door, and stuck her riding whip, a cutting from a poplar, in 
the ground. In due time the cutting took root, as did the romance of 
the young people. They lived for many years in her father's house. 
While the poplar grew to great size, beneath its shade children and 
grandchildren played near their Grandfather Chandler's door. 

Hannah Cleveland Chandler was born Nov. 3, 1783, and died April 
3, 1863, from being thrown from a carriage and kicked on the head by 
a horse (a rare traffic accident recorded in history). Her husband, 
Charles Chandler, died in 1858, much respected by all. 

The Honorable Stephen Averill was a membnsr of the Connecticut 
Legislature in 1785. 

He was born in Windham Village (Hampton) in 1730, married 
Sarah Hendee of Windham in 1752. In 1770 they sold their farm in 
Hampttm and moved to "Pomfret Town," where he bought 1000 acres 
part of which comprised the rugged Wolf Den Hills, and the plantation 
has long been known as the Wolf Den Farm. They had seven children 
before his wife died at the age of 45 in 1775. 

Of his second marriage with Mrs. Mehitable (Dana) Allen were 
bom three children. In the first U.S. Census in 1790 we find this quaint 
record: "Stephen Averill living in Pomfret Town— head of household 



WOLF DEN HOUSE ON HIGH RIDGE ROAD 77 

consisting of three other men over 16 years of age, three under 16 years, 
and five free white females over 16 years, including the head of the 
household," which probably included some helpers as well as the family. 
Stephen Averill was a man of property, as is shown by his will which 
was filed June 15, 1810, and was signed by Ebenezer Kingsbury, Lemuel 
Ingalls, and Squire Sessions, Appraisers. 

The property at the time of his death was $9,738.72, a fortune for 
a farmer of the times. Inventory consisted of hats, coats, breeches, waist- 
coats, linen and kneebuckles; also household furnishings, including 
loom, linen wheels, chests, ironware, pewter, china, bellows, warming 
pans, round table, desk, looking glasses, great chair, bedding, farm 
products, large quantities of pork, beef, Indian Corn, and five barrels 
of cider. In outdoor property is mentioned the following: saddles for 
women, and farm tools. Among his stock are listed one sorrel horse, one 
old line-back cow, 17 sheep, and a four year old mare; among his books 
were a Bible, Solomon's Geogiaphy, and Self Knowledge and Sincere 
Convert. In his will he left to his wife his "best horse, kind and saddle, 
and two cows of middling size" also home furnishings, etc. 

Mrs. Stephen Averill probably spent her last days at the old home- 
stead, which was situated about one mile north on the west side of the 
road from the Wolf Den entrance. In 1856 the property was owned by 
Joseph Clapp, a Quaker. 



THE WOLF DEN HOUSE ON HIGH RIDGE ROAD 

This house, according to the late Miss Lena Averill, was commenced 
in 1796 by Stephen Averill, son of Stephen, Sr., by a second marriage. 
After completing the chimney, which is quite wonderful in design, 
and making some progress on the building, but being an unsuccessful 
farmer, he was obliged to sell to his half brother, Lewis Averill. 

Lewis Averill, on his marriage in 1824 to Hannah Burton, brought 
his bride to this house. At that time only one room was plastered, not 
unusual in those times when houses were completed as money and 
mean were available, not on mortgage loans. 

Lewis Averill was a farmer, and a Representative to the Legislature 
in 1840-1841. 

Those were the early Victorian days; of this period we hear little 
of the New England housewife. She lived in the time when the old 
methods were passing for newer ones; yet her life was quite as full of 
work and care as was her mother's or grandmother's. She lived in a 
time when nearly every housewife kept silk worms and made silk, not 
only to sell, but to spin and weave into beautiful cloth for her family; 
when the young boys of the family were required to rise early, rain 
or shine, in May and June, take their bags and climb the mulberry 
trees that had been planted in great numbers, to fill the bags with 



78 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

leaves to satisfy the gieedy appetites of the silk worms. She also spun 
and wove, and made all the garments for the family. 

Mrs. Averill's life was typical. She made butter and cheese from 
many cows, as it was the custom of the farmer's wife. The cows 
freshened in May, which made May and June the early butter months. 
In July and August they filled the cheese pantry with cheeses, and in 
September and October they again made butter for the Providence, 
Norwich and New London markets. She began housekeeping when 
the housewife dipped her own candles. Never in her long life did she 
really trust the kerosene lamps. In the short days when her husband 
must do the chores by the light of the lantern, she would sit and faith- 
fully watch from the window until he returned safely. She had a dread 
of fire in stoves, having been brought up before the open fireplace, and 
would never retire until the stove pipes were cold. Her home had some 
of the finest fireplaces of any home in Pomfret, and she, no doubt, re- 
gretted seeing them closed when stoves came into general use. 

She spun yarn, and knitted stockings and mittens for her ten 
children. She could also direct the farm operations as is shown when 
her husband was in the Legislature, for he wrote home orders as to 
how his acreage of potatoes was to be planted. By the time the letter 
was received she had attended to every detail and the potatoes were al- 
ready growing. At the age of eighty-five, Mrs. Averill knitted thirty 
pairs of mittens for the Children's Home in Putnam. She died at the 
age of eighty-seven, having survived her husband twenty years, which 
may show that a useful life and motherhood never shortens a woman's 
life. 



LEWIS AVERILL RESIDENCE 

Lewis Averill, 2nd, son of Lewis Averill of the Wolf Den Farm, 
where he at first resided, bought in 1899 the dwelling occupied by his 
widow, Mrs. Delia Allen Averill, who died in 1948, and who was con- 
nected by blood ties to the Ingalls, Goodell, Craft and Allen families. 

A son, L. Allen Averill also resides at this homestead. This house 
was built by Joseph Gilbert in 1876. Mr. Gilbert was a prosperous 
farmer who opposed the railroad cutting through his farm. Accordingly, 
in 1870 when a depot was built where he had once had his cornfield, 
he sold the property, fearing fire would destroy the buildings. Early 
engines burned chestnut wood, and were a great fire hazard. 

FREDERICK AVERILL DWELLING 1804 

Frederick Averill, son of the Hon. Stephen Averill, built the house 
now owned by Lawrence Ryan, at the corner of Routes 44 and 101. 
Prior to this he had lived on Wolf Den Farm, just northwest of the 



NATHANIEL KINGSBURY 79 

present house there. He had three sons, Lewis, Frederick and Warren, 
the latter being an infant the year the house was built. In the last 
years of his life he sold the home, and having intermarried with the 
Davis family, came into possession of the house where Gardner Davis 
lives. Here Frederick 2nd spent his last days, as did also his son 
Warren. This Averill-Davis house was built in Civil War days. 



NATHANIEL KINGSBURY 

Nathaniel Kingsbury, with the Holts, Fuller and Buttons of Mas- 
sachusetts, settled near Hampton Hill in 1715. He became one of the 
leading men of the town. 

Just when members of the Kingsbury family settled in Pomfret, 
histoi-y does not say. It is tradition that at the Kingsbury tavern on the 
Wolf Den road, the men of the famous wolf-hunt celebrated and hung 
their trophy on a hook in the kitchen. 

Many years later the tavern-house was torn down, and the beam 
that held the hook was used under a corn crib on the place. Willis 
Covell, Pomfret's town clerk, recalls that when he was a boy, he crawled 
under the corn crib to see the hook. 

In 1789 Ebenezer Kingsbury was Pomfret's representative. For a 
hundred years the Kingsbury family ran a fulling and dyeing mill on 
a brook in what was known as Kingsbury Hollow, the intervale be- 
tween the mouth of the Newitchewanna Brook and the range of the 
Wolf Den hills. Old account-books of this prosperous business are now 
in the possession of Mr. Everett Griggs, of Abington. 

The Kingsbury Tavern stood on an open field just south of the 
present entrance to Wolf Den Park. A short distance west, on the north 
side of the road, was the Ayers place, shown on the map under the 
name of J. S. Ayers. 

At the time Ransom Kingsbury occupied the homestead. A race- 
track was maintained on this comer for many years. 



CHAPTER VII 



POMFRET TOWN HOUSE AND POMFRET INDUSTRIES 1840 

Migration, like a tide, was sweeping westward many sons of the 
town, yet enough remained to fill the places their fathers had held. 
Old homesteads were still occupied by descendants of the pioneer 
families; the nine schools of the town were filled with children. Farm 
production was at its heieht; thousands of sheep and cattle roamed the 
hills. 

Water power was turning wheels of industry from Nightingale's 
Pond to Pomfret Landing, and to Pomfret Factory at Gargill Falls. 

A village called Pomfret Depot had grown up around the little 
new railroad station in 1839. Wood-burning engines came puffing over 
the Norwich Worcester Railroad, showering the countryside with sparks 
from their wide-throated smokestacks. The era of the stage coach and 
turnpikes was drawing to a close. 

In keeping with all this progress, Pomfret was building a town 
house. It was no longer fitting to continue to hold Town Meetings in 
inns, schoolhouses, or Abington meeting-house. The battle was on — 
the choice of a site— This was an important decision to be made, 
equal to that of former years when the site for a meeting-house was 
chosen. For a year the townfolk met, and different locations were de- 
bated. Among the situations considered were the following: 

Near "Haskell Tavern," Haskell Corner 

Near the "South Schoolhouse," Albert Newton's in Elliott 

On the "South end of the Burying-ground, near Lemuel Haywood's" 
now opposite the golf links 

At "Charles Chandler's," the old Fayette Wright place 

At "George B. Mathewson's," now Pomfret School 

At "Col. Calvin Day's," now A. G. Goodnough 

On "William Sabin's land between the schoolhouse and the Quaker 
Meeting House." 

Near "Stebbins Store" in Marcy Hollow 

With so many locations under consideration, the decision was fin- 
ally lett to an out-of-town committee, which was appointed on April 
24, 1841, consisting of Jonathan Nichols of Thompson, Philip Pearl of 
Hampton, and Calvin Whitney of Ashford. 

The following June 8, 1841 the present location was decided upon, 
and voted so at a town meeting. The new building was made ready, 
and opened October 4, with Job Williams as Town Clerk, and George 
Ingalls and Pitt Sharpe as Selectmen. 



POMFRET TOWN HOUSE AND INDUSTRIES 1840 81 

At this meeting it was voted to empower the Selectmen to buy a 
stove and pipe, and to install the same to heat the Town House, also 
to provide wood for the stove, cut and made ready. A little wrought 
iron stove, heavy as lead, was set up near the voting booth. A large 
box stove, embellished with the design of a galloping horse used many 
years in the Jericho schoolhouse, was added to the Town House heating 
equipment when the Jericho school was closed. 

Lighting must have been with tallow candles, at first. Whale oil 
lamps came into general use about 1850, kerosene lamps appeared in 
Civil War Days, btit were slow in coming into general use, as the 
smell of oil was obnoxious, besides being strong enough to taint butter, 
if carried home in the same wagon. 

It woidd have been impossible to have chosen a more appropriate 
site for a town house than this on the eastern slope of Chandler Moun- 
tain, not only because it commanded one of the finest views of the 
town, but because it is an historic location, being on the tract purchased 
by Deacon Philemon Chandler from one of the first proprietors, Thomas 
Ruggles, in 1713. The original tract included six htmdred acres of the 
best land in Pomfret, extending from the south burying ground (which 
Deacon Chandler gave to the town in 1719) to within a mile of the 
Putnam Wolf Den. 

Deacon Philemon Chandler built his first long low plank house 
in 1714 on Ryan's Corner. On the height of Chandler Mountain, in- 
cluded in his farm, were the remains of a pre-historic Indian Fort, where 
the Red Man had maintained a look-out for warring Narragansetts, 
who strove to conquer the Nipmuck country west of the Quinebaug. 

This fact is spoken of in a Thanksgiving address given by the 
fourth pastor of the church, Reverend Nathan S. Hunt, in 1841. The 
location of the fort was known to the Averill family, who possessed the 
homestead for one hundred years, as heirs through the marriage of 
Philemon Chandler's great-great-great granddaughter, Elizabeth Chand- 
ler, to Frederick Averill. The dwelling on the Averill farm was built 
in 1837 to receive Elizabeth Chandler as a bride. With the passing of 
the last descendants of the family, the Misses Clara and Lena Averill, 
the property has been purchased by Mr. Carl Sharpe. 

Pomfret may justly be proud of its little town house, remodeled 
in 1938. There are a few of us who regret the passing of the quaint 
iron stoves, relics of "modern heating" of a century ago. These stoves 
were cast in the old Backus Foundary, near the beacon light on Mullen 
Hill, in Canterbury. 

Pomfret once owned one Town Poorhouse, built in 1796 on sixty 
acres of land between Sessions Mill and William Osgood's land, which 
was on the west side of the middle road between the two railroad bridges 
in Abington. This one-story town building was fourteen by sixty feet; 
it had four rooms, two cellars, and two chimneys. 

If the town house had been built as suggested "between the school 
and the Quaker Meeting House," it would now stand on the discon- 



82 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

tinned Quaker Road. On the corner of this road, at the foot of Pom- 
fret Hill, once stood one of the town's earliest schools. About an eighth 
of a mile west was the Quaker Meeting House, built in 1805; its first pas- 
tor was a Mr. Porter. 

No record has come to light to show that the Quakers were ever 
molested in Pomfret, but the location of the building would suggest 
that they were not welcome on Pomfret Street. The Quaker Meeting 
House was built on the land of Obed Dennis, and stood encircled 
with forest and high walls— closed gates completing its seclusion. The 
structure was two story, twenty by forty feet, fronting south; there was 
a row of galleries, with two entrances covered with storm porches, one 
for the men and one for the women. A chimney was provided at east 
and west ends of the building. A central partition ran through the 
house, the men sitting on one side and the women on the other. A 
small burying ground in the rear is now overgrown, but a larger cem- 
etery a half mile west, on the corner of the main and Quaker roads, 
has been well kept. Here we find the names of later members of the 
little church, among them the Clapp and Dennis families. There was 
never a large congregation of Friends, and as the remnant died or 
drifted away, only the two burial plots attest to the small flock which 
is almost forgotten in Pomfret's history. While only a few Friends 
lived in Pomfret, worshipers came from Brooklyn, Killingly, and Ab- 
ington to this meeting-house, which, after years of disuse, was burned 
about 1920. Another site suggested was "near Stebbin's Store" in Steb- 
binsville, as Marcy Hollow was called wdien the town was built. Steb- 
binsville was named for one Erastus Stebbins who, in 1817, bought the 
woolen mill which had been built by a woolen company in 1812. Men, 
women, and children were employed; hand power was used. 

Stebbins developed the water privilege down in the present State 
Park, where traces of the old mill-race are yet visible. Beside his woolen 
mill he opened a grocery store, on the present site of Thaddeus LeFort's 
house. Ten years later his business passed into the hands of creditors. 
The mills burned in 1835. The enterprise of the little hamlet required 
a school, known as the factory school. It stood on the top of the hill 
west of "Stebbinsville." 



JAMES SAWYER - BRUCE PLACE 

The James Sawyer place, long known as the Bruce Place, in Pom- 
fret Landing, is now owned by the Russell Perkins Estate. The site 
where James Sawyer settled in 1709 and btiilt his dwelling, was by a 
great pine tree that stands shading the cellar hole, overlooking the little 
waterfall in Bark Meadow Brook. He built his mill where the brook 
empties into the Quinebaug, where a natural bend in the river formed 
a mill race. Here he at once set about cutting oiu millstones and laying 



COTTON HOMESTEAD, POMFRET LANDING 83 

up walls and foundations. The millstones, remarkable specimens of 
the handwork of the time, have been removed to the Perkins farm. 

This mill was set up before there was a road in Pomfret, or other 
inhabitants in Pomfret Landing. The river was used to go to and from 
the mill, before bridle paths opened that section of Pomfret and Kil- 
lingly. As settlement increased, a road ran from the Sawyer house to 
the fording place, where fifty years later Cotton Bridge was built. 

J. L Sawyer, of Putnam, a descendant of this family, was an artist 
of note. 

The Sawyer property passed into the Bruce family about 1800. They 
also were a family of enterprise. They built a new house east of the 
falls on Bark Meadow Brook (present owner Mrs. Nina Pease), and for 
years carried on a thriving business of grist, saw and cidermills. Through 
the years there were three mills and dams on the brook. In early days 
Artemus Bruce had a cobbler shop, where the neighbors brought him 
their leather, with which to make their shoes. 

On a knoll midway to the river is the old Sawyer-Bruce burying 
ground, a silent reminder of those early days. 

COTTON HOMESTEAD-POMFRET LANDING 

Thomas Cotton settled in Pomfret Landing in 1749 on six hun- 
dred acres purchased from James Danielson. His land joined the 
Saw)'er tract on the cast at the brook, extended north toward Pomfret 
Hill "beginning at the mouth of Corne Sawyer's millbrook, where it 
emptieth into the Quinebaug, thence south to the Mashamoquet, thence 
north on Dana's land." (The Maclnnes house is on the Dana Pur- 
chase.) He owned all that is now Pomfret Landing to the Bruce place 
so-called. The present home of Adolph Jarvis is undoubtedly one of 
the oldest houses in the section. 

It is said that with the Cotton goods, came also the first copper 
teakettle in Pomfret, and also the first rat. 

The dwelling now owned by Thomas Grimes is also a very old 
Cotton homestead. The land on which it stands leads to an old Cotton 
mill privilege. 

The property now owned by Miss Maclnnes, the old Williams 
place, was early included in the Dana Tract. When James Cotton came 
in 1742 his land extended from Bark Meadow Brook to the Williams 
place, thence to the Mashamoquet. 

THE COTTONS 

The old Dana or Needle's Eye Road was one of the earliest roads 
in town. It passed through the Cotton lands to the Quinebaug River, 
which was crossed by fording. The first bridge was built in 1774, and 



84 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

prior to then, Cotton had maintained a tavern house to accommodate 
the heavy travel from Pomfret and Killingly. In Barber's Historical 
Collection of 1838, we find the following: "About three miles S.E. of 
Pomfret Congo. Ch. there is a place called Pomfret Landing, which 
place is said to derive its name from a circumstance, that in ancient 
times, there used to be a tavern kept there, at which young men from 
Woodstock, Providence, and other places used to stop or Land, and in 
some instances, remaine two or three days, carousing." 

In 1770 Simeon Cotton, who died in 1819, was tavern-keeper, and 
deacon of Pomfret Church; so it woidd seem probable that an "ancient," 
notorious tavern had been opened and managed by the earlier Cottons. 
Yet it is surprising how well rum and religion blended before the tem- 
perance movement of 1820. The Simeon Cotton Tavernhouse still 
stands, deep in the vale near Cotton's Bridge. 

The Cotton children received their schooling in the three R's and 
spelling-book at the little old Pomfret schoolhouse on the now closed 
Cooney Road, on the hill above the Landing. This schoolhouse was 
built at an early date for the children of the tenants of Governor Bel- 
cher, whose farms lay along the old church road. This was the only 
school available for the children of Israel Putnam when he lived at the 
old Putnam house, just over the Pomfret line in Brooklyn. 

The Lapsley orchards (Wiltshire Manor), where Putnam lived at 
the time of the famous Wolf Hunt, is shown on the map as the Edwin 
Warrens. Wiltshire farmhouse, now the Valentine place, is shown as 
the Willard Hubbards. A glance at the map will show their neighbor- 
hood proximity. Although the school was gone in 1856, there appear 
on the Cooney Road the names of William Averill, Sam Ritchard, Wil- 
liam Yoimg, B. Johnson, and J. S. Colgrove. 

Several old houses on this road that, long neglected, have now fal- 
len into decay were last occupied by Irish laborers of the seventies, 
duiing the construction of the New York, New Haven, and Hartford 
Railroad. It is said that the hill was black with them, so many were 
employed at that time. 

The railroad, tho welcomed, was destined to take away the in- 
dustry of the Landing. Wheels that had turned for half a century by 
the power of the Mashamoquet were soon to be stilled, and the old 
mill left deserted, a ghost of the home industry. The grist mill was 
operated for several years, and a store and post office maintained a few 
years longer. Now the last of the old mill is "gone with the wind" in 
the hurricane of 1938. 

While the hum of industry was heard in Pomfret Landing, a new 
schoolhouse was built, which still stands. In comparison to early days 
the school attendance is small now, but for many years it was a truly 
favored school. On each Christmas, the late Mr. Lawrence Perkins, of 
Pomfret Landing, remembered his happy school days by providing a 
Christmas tree for all the scholars. To the youngsters, he was a real 
Santa Claus. 



POMFRET IN 1810 85 

POMFRET IN 1810 

The census of 1810 of Windham County states that at that date, 
all of its towns had post offices, except Hampton and Voluntown; two 
were listed for Killingly. Pomfret had one thousand nine-hundred and 
five inhabitants, three hundred dwelling houses, four religious societies, 
and eleven school districts, where school was kept the greater part of 
the year. Pomfret Street had twenty dwelling houses, two chiuThes, a 
post office, and several stores. At Pomfretville, (now Pomfret Street, 
Putnam) there was a cotton mill, the largest in the state, also one woolen 
mill and a grist mill. 

On Mashamoquet, Bark Meadow, Blackwell's, and Abington Brook, 
there were three fulling mills, and clothiers works, two carding ma- 
chines, three small distilleries, four grain mills, six tanneries, nine saw 
mills. 

Three turnpikes passed through the town: Hartford to Providence, 
Hartford to Boston, and Norwich to Worcester. 

At this period Pomfret Landing was at its height of prosperity. 
For thirty years it had been the busiest part of town, with the Masha- 
moquet furnishing power to run its industries— a fulling mill (down the 
lane from the present Thomas Grimes place), a saw mill and a grist mill 
near the bridge. 

POMFRET LANDING-A TYPICAL MANUFACTURING HAMLET 



As early as 1787 the Gilberts had opened a barter store (in the 
old stone building that once stood on the south side of the Landing 
Road) doing a record business, "landing" a quantity of merchandise 
(Larned's History). Another enterprise was a large wagon and black- 
smith shop, which stood on the east side of the bridge for nearly a 
century. 

The last of these blacksmiths was Winthrop Chandler Aldrich, 
who died in 1905, after owning the shop for thirty-five years. The 
building was swept away by flood in 1907. Charles Aldrich, son of 
Winthrop, now of California, has drawn a most interesting picture of 
the Landing, from memory as of 1890, which shows several houses, the 
old mill, the grist mill and shop, which are no longer standing. 

The last industry of the Landing was a creamery, which stood 
about a half mile west of the Landing, on the north side of the high- 
way. This property burned about 1895. 

THE WILLIAMS FAMILY 

Seth Williams came to Pomfret from Raynham, Massachusetts, 
in 1791. He engaged in the shoe manufacturing business. The Seth 



86 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

Williams homestead is the present Perkins place. Seth Williams was 
buried in the Bruce burying ground. His shop may have been one of 
the Landing industries. His grandson's name, Samuel, appears on the 
map as S. H. Williams. 

Also on the map of the Old River Road, we see the name of B. 
Williams, a member of this family. This property was purchased by 
the father of Willis Covell, Town Clerk of Pomfret, who, when a boy, 
attended school at the Landing. 

Mrs. William Valentine is a descendant of the Seth Williams family. 

During the last half of the 19th century a grocery store was main- 
tained at the Landing by Charles Williams, son of Samuel. This store 
stood just east of the old Cotton mill. Here was kept the post office. 
As was customary, the mail was brought to Pomfret Landing from 
Dayville, mail being brought for this section by the Norwich and Wor- 
cester Railroad after 1839. Isaac Hawks carried the mail for many years 
before the establishment of the rural free delivery. 

THE MacINNES PLACE 

This fine old Colonial place was built in 1772 (the date may be 
seen on the chimney). This property, owned by the Williams family, is 
shown on the map as the C. D. Williams place. He was a direct descen- 
dant of William Williams, brother of the Reverend Ebenezer Williams. 
Another direct descendant was the late George W. Perry, Civil Engineer, 
of Putnam. Throughout the long years the house has stood, its colonial 
lines intact. 



COTTON TWINE MILL 

The date of the building of this mill is not on record, but parents 
of the oldest inhabitants worked there in their youth. Children were 
employed at the age of twelve, at long hours of hard labor, and work 
was sent home for their mothers to do. The building was fast falling 
into decay, and went down in the hurricane of 1938. The twine mill 
came soon after the opening of the turnpike, in 1800, through the 
Landing— a great advantage to the industry. Also, at this time, the 
stage coach tavern was opened. This building, shown on the map as 
belonging to Samuel Underwood, is owned by Ellery Baker, a veteran of 
the second World War. 



BRICK STEAMERS 

For many years the tenn "Brick Steamers" has been associated 
with Pomfret Landing. Why, no one knew. The following historical 



QUINEBAUG RIVER 87 

facts seem likely to give a fair explanation. The Quinebaug, like many 
other large streams, had been used as a waterway from early times. 
A project of dredging for a canal was proposed as early as 1760. This 
period might well be styled New England's Golden Age. Wealth had 
been accumulated, but not to the extent of the idle rich. All men 
were employed in some enterprise or business. Sons were sent to col- 
lege, and daughters had time for fine spinning and needlework. New 
churches were lifting their spires upon the hills, and new dwellings 
were built. Thtis there was a great need for more and easier transporta- 
tion. The day of the turnpike had not yet dawned. Roads were still 
rude cart-paths, although everywhere passable. They were muddy, rutty, 
and stony, yet great quantities of farm produce were being hauled over 
them to Norwich to be shipped to New London and even to the West 
Indies. Boats to these parts carried horses, mules, and oxen upon their 
decks, as well as sheep, swine, turkeys, and geese. Produce shipped were 
pork, beef, butter, cheese, flour, and hides. In return, ships brought 
West India goods of molasses, rum, spices, salt, indigo, and sweetmeats. 

During this period of activity, when much building was in pro- 
gress, brick for chimneys arrived by water at Norwich, and, from there, 
was distributed to the surrounding area. In 1789 Washington observed 
in his diary that on his trip to New England he noted several times 
that all chimneys were built of either stone or brick. Undoubtedly, 
as much as possible of this material came by water from Norwich to 
Pomfret Landing. 

Beneath the water, at the junction of Bark Meadow Brook and 
the Quinebaug River, can be seen the piles of an old landing wharf, 
doubtless the mooring place of the "Brick Steamers." 



QUINEBAUG RIVER 

The first bridge over the Quinebaug between the "Great Falls," 
in Putnam, and Danielson, was built in 1774, near the Simon Cotton 
Tavern. Although the river here was wide and deep, horses and oxen 
had been made to swim the stream, crossing from Pomfret to Killingly. 

From the early settlement of Pomfret, flat boats had navigated 
the river to and from Norwich. Erection of the bridge opened a direct 
thorough-fare from Danielson to Pomfret Hill, and business boomed 
at Cotton's Tavern, so great was the enterprise, then widely discussed, 
of deepening the Quinebaug from Norwich to the Massachusetts line, 
for a canal, but the war prevented anything being done about it. 

A half century later interest was again awakened to deepen the 
river. In October 1826 the city of Norwich voted: "Resolved to en- 
courage a project for opening a canal from the tide water at Norwich 
to Worcester County, Mass. along the Quinebaug." The Norwich 
Channel Co. had been formed in 1805 for the improvement of river 



88 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

water ways. It is reasonable to believe that in the excitement of Nor- 
wich having an established steamboat line, and Pomfret fighting for 
a canal to bring up their brick, the opponents of the project would jest- 
ingly say that they would yet run "brick steamers" up to Pomfret 
Landing, the same as we often speak of cattle cars or coal cars. (Flat 
boats then brought supplies up the river in high water.) 

A canal charter had been granted in behalf of "manufacturing 
and agricultural interests," but before anything was done the public 
became interested in the then new mode of transportation, railroads, 
and the charter was changed to a railroad charter. 

The Norwich and Worcester road was completed in 1839, and 
the canal project was forgotten until 1914 when a bill before Con- 
gress, providing for Government survey of the Quinebaug for a barge 
canal, but the clay of the automobile had already dawned, and slow 
transportation was not in favor. A second time the canal project was 
rejected. 

Cotton's Bridge has been carried away in floods several times, to 
go out again in the time of the great blizzard of 1888, and again in 
1906. The present bridge was built in 1908. A sister bridge was built 
a mile south of Cotton Bridge in 1800, at the time the Hartford and 
Providence turnpike went through Pomfret. The builder, Thaddeus 
Allen, whose home was on the hill on the Killingly side of the river, 
signed a contract to keep the bridge in repair for one year. The day 
before the contract expired, flood took the bridge away, which so 
troubled Allen that he took his own life by drowning. In 1934 the pres- 
ent cement bridge was built, during the construction of the State High- 
way between Haskell's Corner and Dayville. 

In the cold winter of 1935, the Quinebaug was frozen over to such 
an extent that in the breaking up of the ice in spring, great floes were 
carried by the current o\er the banks and highways. In instances 
farmers v/ere able to fill their ice houses from this supply. This winter 
went on record for severe cold, the mercury falling to 40 degrees below 
zero much of the time during the winter months, with much snow. 
It will be long remembered by the boys and girls of Pomfret Landing, 
the mercury in the schoolhouse on cold mornings registering 30 degrees 
below zero. The winter of 1903-4, 1920-1, 1934-5, and 1947-8 were 
record cold winters in Windham County. 

THE KINGSLEY FAMILY 

The Kingsley family first settled in Windham. Apparently they 
came to Pomfret Landing after the Revolution, settling on the Howard 
White farm which has remained in the Kingsley family for a century. 
A section of this house is very old, and has remained unchanged al- 
though additions have been made. The house is shown on the map as 
R. Kingsley. 



THE KINGSLEY FAMILY 89 

A second Kingsley dwelling, a large red house, stood, until the 
last quarter century, at the top of the hill above the Mashamoquet 
Brook Bridge. It was taken down and the timber used in the construc- 
tion of the Hans Anderson dwelling. This old house was shaded by 
beautiful elms that still stand, and is shown on the map as the James 
Angell place. In 1932 the site was purchased by William Elliott; the 
old Pomfret Landing store was also purchased by Mr. Elliott, moved 
up the hill from the Ellery Baker property to the site of the old red 
house, and converted into a dwelling. This dwelling is much smaller 
than the old house, as is shown by the position of the ancient door 
stones, and the fine outside bulkhead entrance to the cellar. 

A stone on which is inscribed the date 1793 was found by Mr. 
Elliott in this bulkhead entrance, and has been placed by the front 
door stone. Whether this house, or the White place, was the home of 
Ebenezer Kingsley is uncertain. In 1798 Ebenezer Kingsley was one of 
a committee of nine men appointed by the Town to attend to laying 
out the road from Little River to the Perrin place (at the top of Hos- 
pital Hill) and to building a bridge over the stream— also to the repair 
of the Cargill bridge. This was the second bridge over the Little River, 
the first being built in 1732, and trodden paths had substituted for 
highways before that date. 

When William Elliott bought the Kingsley home site in 1932, the 
base of the old chimney was removed, and between two great stones 
in the foundation, four copper pennies were found at each of the four 
corners, dated 1794, 1796, 1802, and 1804. It would seem that the be- 
ginning of the construction w^as in 1791, when the stone was marked, 
that the chimney was begun in 1804, and the intervening years mark 
the years of labor in gathering building materials. All hardware was 
made at the blacksmith shop. Stones were hauled by slow moving oxen 
from the fields. Hearthstones and broad door stones were often trans- 
ported miles on ox sleds. Logs were cut in the forests and hauled to 
the mill to be sawed into the great wide boards for the floors and plank 
walls. All sills and timbers were hand hewn, and the pegs were, like 
the shingles, hand made. 

It took years to accomplish all this hand labor by a home owner 
and his sons. He was a busy farmer, and must reap and sow in season, 
and tend his flocks and herds. It was only in the winter that he could 
prepare material for his house. It is little wonder that he called in his 
neighbors to celebrate the greatest event in his life— the raising of his 
home. A fine dinner was served, and there was much merriment. 
When a house was raised, a carpenter was hired, at eight dollars per 
month and board, to finish it. With the farmer's help, this might be 
accomplished in a year. 

The Kingsley house was a large two story building with a mansard 
roof, and one large center brick chimney. 



90 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

CHAS. C. ALDRICH, 4565 47//^ ST., SAN DIEGO, CAL. 

To Judge Willis Covell, Pomfret. 

The Characters, as I remember them in my draiuing, June 1944, 
as they were on the morning of June 9th, Monday, 1890. 

From the left: I see Pete Norton, Mary Fisher, Billy Vaughn, then 
Albertus and his Buckskin horse en route for the creamery for butter- 
milk; another girl is ahead of the horse. I cannot make her out; then 
there is "Rabbitt" Charlie Aldrich as usual on the run, he has just 
driven Feeters cows to pasture, and has "dallied" too long with Frank 
Wood at the Creamery, besides he has to "go out" before he goes to 
school, hence his hurry; he hopes to make the grist mill, but will 
hardly have time to get to the third floor "outlet" which has always 
intrigued him as he has not been able to see how he can miss those 
that may be in the little places below. Geo. Hanley is headed for the 
store; Martin Hanley is trying to get a pig back in the pen; Lizzie Han- 
ley is headed for school and Charlie Hanley is going back to the store. 

Mrs. Curtis is inspecting her flower beds and tied to the corner 
of the barn is Amy Bruce's horse; some one else is in the yard, I believe 
it is Mrs. Harrington, as I place them living upstairs over Mrs. Curtis. 
Bill Harrington has his grocery cart backed up to the rear door of the 
store, about to leave for the west side, and I think I can see Willis 
Covell looking over the "rig." Dr. Darlings carriage is in front of the 
store, think he has been to the Grimes' to see the new baby. Mary 
and Sadie Malley are about to cross the bridge, headed for school. 
Will Spaulding has been to the mill and over to the shop, getting an 
axe handle probably from "Chan." Orrin Baker is headed for the "Out 
house" and I can see his mother just returning from same; Mrs. Malley 
is hanging out the Monday wash, and "Dick" Malley is cutting some 
clover for the cow in the barnyard; the cow has a broken leg, caused by 
Jimmy throwing a rock; Jimmy is raking hay in the lot across from 
the Webb place. 

Fred Childs is breaking a colt, and is apparently headed for his 
old home a mile below; Mrs. White is returning from the store? guess 
she ran short of Monday morning wash soap; Ike Hawkes is rounding 
the corner with the "Fast Mail," "Pa Bennett" is in his yard and below 
is either Henry Nye or John Spencer, I can't make out; at the corner 
is old "Black Maria" Hall headed for her monthly visit to the store 
dragging her cart and her pet monkey; Oliver Young is headed for 
school and is trying to get friendly with the monkey; then Sadie White 
and Mary Chase. Ed White is cultivating. 

Along near the Webb house I see Mrs. Geo. Webb, she, like "Black 
Maria" has to use a cane; in the hammock at the Lynn house I see a 
couple of the Ike Hawkes children; Sam Lynn is waving to the boy on 
the bicycle. He is Parris Aldrich, Jr. (Later I find Lynn had died the 
year before). The man in the buggy is Gallup's drummer from Nor- 
wich headed for the store; he is anxious to get the grocery order be- 



CHARLES C. ALDRICH 91 

fore Tourtellotte from Daniells Cornell in Providence comes on Mon- 
day night. The horse is scared of die bicycle and the dog is having a 
great time chasing same. 

Geo. Feeter is on the bridge headed for the shop, and his dog, a 
red, has "dallied" at the corner and is waiting to join in the "chase" of 
the bicycle; Feeter is going over to get Chan to go fishing as he believes 
it's going to rain. I note a couple of men headed for the "Cove" and 
Ben White and another fisherman on the far side of the Quinebaug. 

Chan, my dad, is setting a tire for Ed Gleason, who is fishing just 
below the shop, across from Sam Lynn's; his oxen are apparently con- 
tented with chewing their cuds. Going up the hill I see Edith Young 
and Bertha Robbins, we called her "Brown" in those days, and Jud 
Hyde is coming down the hill for his mail; Mose Congdon is headed 
for the Grist Mill with Albertus Bruce's oxen and grist. 

Mrs. Shippee is returning from out back, and Mrs. Pat Noon, who 
was then living in the smaller Aldrich house, is just going "out." I 
note Mrs. Feeter lookinsf at her flowers, and in the rear of the Feeter 
barn I see Bert Fitts. At the then Aldrich house I see my mother hanging 
out the Monday wash, and my sister Mabel chasing my brother Winn 
as he has just escaped from the "out back" and wants his "MA"; in 
the lot back of Mrs. Adams' barn I see old Mrs. Grimes chasing the 
chickens from the garden and beyond I see a couple of pigs that she will 
have to get back to the pen; in the lot beyond I see Charlie Grimes 
with a hoe on his shoulder, and his son Tommy headed for the corn- 
field. 

In Mrs. Clapp's back yard I see my brother Wallie hitching up to 
go peddling, probably to Williamsville, and Horace Clapp is headed 
for the barn. I forgot to mention that on the little hand-built tem- 
porary bridge across the stream at the old Palmer place I have placed 
Charlie Cole; "Buffalo Bill," we called him then; he used to live with 
Steve Hopkins, and for a little "Local Color" I put him in, even tho 
Steve Hopkins had by that time moved to the Prentice place; you will 
also note that Steve has just shot a woodchuck, and is holding it up 
for his man Stub to see; his wife keeps right on weeding the onions. 
Pat Noon is going down to the barn, guess he worked for Steve at that 
time, later buying the Hammond house. 

At the school house I see several playing ball, and evidently they 
have knocked one over the fence, and some boy is chasing it. Fred 
Willis at Bruces, I see, is admiring his latest in weather vanes which 
he has recently installed on the barn; Juliette Keyes has forgotten 
something and headed back to Bruces. Back of the schoolhouse I note 
Lizzie Johnson coming to school. Coming through the Whipple wood 
I see Oliver Bennett coming to the store. He was then living at the 
Cotton Bridge house; later moving to the smaller Aldrich house when 
Noons moved to the Hammond place. 

I have the Whipple place and the Boat house seen quite plainly, 
probably too plainly for the position I imagined myself to be in when 



92 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

I drew the picture; I had imagined myself to be at the western end of 
the Chestnut Grove near the old "Mine" as we called it, and just east 
of the old barn that was in the cow pasture on the hill (Hanley Farm). 

The mail was not taken at that hour, as we had but one mail a 
day, and that came at noon. Remember my J. Lynn and Co. orders? 
I tried to have as inuch so-called Life in the pictme, hence the few 
changes. 

The belfry on the schoolhouse I think had been installed by Jim 
Botham, aided by Andrew, and Jud Hyde had gotten a fairly straight 
flag pole. The crows are flying far and near and cows are pasturing 
here and there; much wild mustard can be seen. Cherries are ripe on 
the tree to the left and I had to leave a bit open so I could show the 
Mill dam and "Still Water" beyond. My sheet of paper was too small 
to show the creamery and my good boyhood friend, Frank Wood. 

Not having been on the old Landing Hill since 1902, or over 42 
years, my sense of location may be and probably is a bit off. I hardly 
remembered the Webb barns until after I had finished the drawing; 
Wallie sent me a sketch of it as he remembered it and I was fairly right. 

"Forepaughs" Circus was coming to town, and you will note the 
red posters on the Palmer barn. They are also on the far side of the 
Hanley barn, not visible. 

You, Willis, I don't believe had gone to work for Geo. Lynn at 
this date, June, but I do believe you went there during the summer 
after your summer recess from Bryant and Stratton in Providence. I 
believe you boarded with Mrs. Curtis. Arthur Harrington helped out 
before you went to the store and then I believe Arthur Rich went to 
work for Lynn and Anderson. I used to go on the cart with all of them, 
didn't like to go so much with Anderson as he spent many, many hours 
at the Wrights, just beyond Davenports, and left me in the wagon eating 
bananas and candy. Someone, I don't remember who, used to stop 
for "Some Time" at the Botham Corners. 

Well, the old landing will never look the same; so I like to re- 
member it "when." 

Charles C. Aldrich Dec. 15th, 1944. 



TURNPIKES 

The early years of 1800 brought turnpikes through Pomfret. Two 
of the old gate houses still stand, one on the Pomfret Landing Road, 
owned by the Day family, and the other on the Ragged Hill Road, 
home of the late Mrs. Lucy Smith. All toll-gate houses were sold in 
1848 by the order of the town. The old Haskell Tavern Stand, at the 
fork of the pikes, Providence-Hartford and Norwich-Worcester, was well 
patronized. General training was held on the broad field opposite the 
Haskell Stand, where tlie Central School is now located. 



CHAPTER VIII 




MORTLAKE (1685) 

K. KingsvTOod (Col. Malbone 
Tract) 

T. Training Field, 

F. Foy's Land. 

S. Saltonstall Tract (Brook- 
lyn Village) 

W. Wiltshire (Included Israel 
Putnam Farm) 

V. Vacant. 

R. Road (Surveyed in 1733). 

Q. Quinebaug River. 

M. Mashamoquet River. 

X. Rev. Ebenezer Williams Land. In 1733 Mr. Williams' residence and a part 
of his land lying within Mortlake limits "as he had requested were annexed to 
Pomfret" "for ye removal of ye difficulty he labored under of Uving out of ye 
town, and for the bringing of his work and dwelling together," which accounts 
for the jog in the southeast corner of Pomfret map. 

South of Jericho, through Mortlake (Brooklyn) a deep wilderness 
stretched for miles, broken only by a rude bridle path. This vast tract 
of five thousand seven hundred and fifty acres was owned before 1713 
by the noted Puritan, Sir John Blackwell, who had purchased the sec- 
tion from Major James Fitch, primarily for a settlement of Irish and 
English Dissenters from the Church of England. His plans were frus- 
trated by land troubles with Governor Andros at this period, and the 
tract remained unsettled, until a land transfer was made to Governor 
Jonathan Belcher in 1713. 

Governor Belcher found residing on this tract a squatter, Jabez 
Utter, to whom he gave a deed to the 70 acres Jabez had cleared, 
fenced and built upon, also the use of 30 additional acres, but later 
on the arrest of Utter for "stealing a black two-year old horse" from 
Daniel Cady, Gov. Belcher brought suit against Utter and secured a 
quit-claim deed and return of the land. Adjudged guilty of the charges 
against him, and unable to pay the heavy fine and costs imposed at New 
London Court, Utter was given ten stripes on his naked body and put 
in jail. Later he was obliged to serve for eight pounds a year to work 
out his fine. This undoubtedly took a long time, and his wife and 
daughters were left to the mercy of the unfeeling times. Several young 
men took it upon themselves to drive the poor woman from her cabin 



94 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

into the wilderness. After an all-night siege and abuse, they flung her 
and her children from the door, and set a guard against her return. 
How this brave family made its way through the wilderness to shelter, 
history does not record. Without food or shelter Mary Utter walked 
through the wilds some ten miles to the home of Edward Spaulding 
and two days later on January 19, 1714, was able to tell the magistrate 
of the outrage, but since the young men were from Woodstock, then 
a part of Massachusetts, the rascals were not brought to court. No 
doubt the children were "bound out" until they became of age, a life 
little better than slavery. 

The fate of the Utters seems hard indeed, but in the early settle- 
ment the squatter was not uncommon. Usually he was a man who had 
outlived his credit and standing in an older settlement. 



PIONEERS ALONG THE PRIMITIVE KING'S HIGHWAY 

Soon after 1700 a few scattered homesteads were taken up along 
the trail from the northern boundary of Woodstock to the southern 
boundary of Canterbury. 

Edward Spaulding, where Mary Utter found shelter, was one of the 
first four settlers, south and west of Brooklyn Village. His homestead 
was at the foot of Tatnick Hill. The road from Canterbury to Wood- 
stock lay near his residence, which soon became a place of entertain- 
ment for travelers; his first barrel of rum was brought from Norwich 
on two poles lashed behind a man on horseback (Larned's History). 
A two story brick house in Brooklyn, on Route 6, was for many years 
in the Spaulding family. It is shown on the map under the name of 
Taylor. 

The trail through Canterbury had been rapidly tread out, as it 
was through Pomfret, and by 1719 Canterbury had completed her road 
to the South Pomfret line, placing rude field stones to mark off the 
miles. This road crossed Route 6 at the old Stetson Burying Ground, 
near the Hampton line. The original course of the trail passed directly 
north and south over Westminster Hill, just west of the church, but 
by the influence of one Richard Pellett, who had opened an Inn in 1717 
to entertain travelers, the layout was changed. His place was situated 
nearly a half mile eastward, and fearing to lose his custom, he so enter- 
tained the engineers with liquors and feasting that the north and south 
course was changed to accommodate his tavern, intersecting it one and 
one-fourths miles east of the deviation. This road was included in the 
old King's Highway from Woodstock to Norwich. 

This Richard Pellett was one of the early settlers on the "West 
Row" as Westminster was then called. It consisted of a few pioneer 
homes built near the junction of two trails that crossed on Westminstei 
Hill, running east and west. Greenwich Parallel, became the "great 



FOUNDRY OF THE KING'S HIGHWAY 95 

road" between Providence and Hartford. Because of the heavy travel 
of home makers on these primitive ways, Pellett had opened his home 
as a hovise of entertainment. A generation later, John Parks followed 
him in ownership. 

It is tradition that Lafayette slept at the tavern on the night of 
June 17, 1781, when Rochambeau's giand army of four divisions marched 
through Westminster en route between Providence and Hartford. 

After Parks' death in 1787 the tavern was closed, as a new one 
was built near the church. It is remembered by the older generation 
as the old Stocking place. The present owner, Frank Pellett, razed the 
old tavern house and built a dwelling, although the foundation of 
the tavern is still visible. 

In 1735 Paul Hibbard and Israel Dimmock of Windham built a 
coal house (blacksmith shop) just west of the Westminster Church. 
This was the first shop in the section, and for over a century the furnace 
fires burned brightly, accommodating travelers of the turnpike, as well 
as Hampton, being reached bv the Westminster road from Howard's 
Valley. 



FOUNDRY ON THE KING'S HIGHWAY 

Timothy Backus settled in Canterbury before 1712. The family 
was ever prominent, and early interested themselves in the blacksmith- 
ing and iron trades. At an early date they settled on Mullins Hill, on 
the King's Highway, north of Westminster Church. Here they estab- 
lished blast furnaces, and built a blacksmith shop, doing a very ex- 
tensive business. They made and sold some of the first stoves in Wind- 
ham County— quaint little cook stoves, "heavy as lead," standing on 
short wrought-iron legs, the hearth not six inches from the floor, with 
deep fire boxes capable of taking in a large chunk of wood. These 
stoves had four giiddles, the back ones raised about six inches. These 
stoves were great heaters, designed to heat big old kitchens. Backus 
also made big box stoves for schoolhouses and churches and town houses. 

The old Backus house burned many years ago, and the furnace 
fires have long ago gone out. Not many of the stoves they built are in 
existence, but one that for nearly a hundred years wanned the Pom- 
fret Town House is now in the possession of the writer. 

On the site where the Backus family lived there is now a beacon 
light, its long flashes of ever changing color, sweeping a long arm across 
the horizon, guiding the traveler on his aerial way. But no beacon 
light stood on these heights when more than two centuries ago men 
struggled to find their way over rude trails more difficult to follow than 
are the trails of the sky today. 



96 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

KINGSWOOD HILL, POMFRET-BROOKLYN LINE 

Kingswood Manor was situated on what is now known as Woods 
Hill, one of the finest summits in Windham County, commanding a 
view not only of Pomfret biU of the surrovmding towns. At the en- 
trance to the drive to the manor, massive walls were laid, a suitable ap- 
proach to any country estate. Slave labor also laid the walls around 
the large fields. 

In 1726 Governor Jonathan Belcher leased the Kingswood five- 
hundred acres, one white servant, four oxen, four cows, two breeding 
mares, thirty sheep, harrows, plow, chains, and cart to Isaiah and 
Thompson Wood of Canterbury. 

The old house that stood on the hill for more than two-hundred 
years was purchased by Albert Kimball in 1912; there he spent his last 
days. He passed away shortly before the house was burned on Easter 
morning in 1938. He was a descendant of the Kimball family that had 
settled on Kimball Hill, Hampton, in the north section of the town. 

Three large barns have been struck by lightning and burned, on 
Woods Hill; two other small houses have been built there since the 
old house burned, one of which has also been destroyed by fire. The 
farm is now occupied by Charles Kimball, a son of the late Albert 
Kimball. 

COL. GODFREY MALBONE 

In 1739, Godfrey Malbone, Sr., a wealthy Newport merchant, pur- 
chased twelve hundred acres of forest and meadow land from Governor 
Jonathan Belcher. This property comprised Kingswood Manor. 

Upon the death of Godfrey Malbone, Sr., his estate passed to his 
son Godfrey, who took possession about 1766, and came to Brooklyn to 
make his home about the time that Israel Putnam opened his inn on 
Brooklyn Green. 

Colonel Godfrey Malbone had been reared in luxury and educated 
in England. His father's home was considered the most splendid edifice 
in Newport. It was situated within a mile of the State House. A 
Loyalist, he suffered greatly from Newport mobs; his financial affairs 
were "embarrassed by insubordination of the Colonials," his ships taken 
by privateers, and his house burned while he was in the midst of a 
housewarming. He gave up trying to live in Newport and came to Pom- 
fret, and thereafter lived very simply in a great rambling plank house 
which had been built for a tenant. He gave his attention to the cul- 
tivation of his large farm which was well stocked with cattle, horses, 
sheep, goats and swine. He carried on, by the labor of his many slaves, 
who lived in cabins which lined the west side of the main road, south 
of the Day Street corner where Malbone lived. 

While living in Newport, Malbone had owned several merchant 
ships. At one time his slave ship was attacked, and the negroes on 



COL. GODFREY MALBONE 97 

board defended the ship to such avail that the pirates were forced to 
withdraw. In reward for this service, Colonel Malbone bought them 
all and brought them to his v/ilderness plantation. They were a happy, 
jolly lot, fond of fiddling and frolicking. Once a year they held a 
Jubilee, elected a King, and installed him in office. Pero, an intelligent 
negro, son of an African King, usually held the office. A few of the 
slaves left at the time of the war, but the majority stayed even after 
the death of Colonel Malbone; their descendants have continued to 
live in Brooklyn. 

It is ironical that the first Church of England in the County should 
have been established in Mortlake where, in 1686, the noted Puritan, 
Sir John Black well, had bought the teiritory for the purpose of escaping 
the Church of England, and to establish here a Puritan colony. 

Daniel Putnam, son of General Israel Putnam, married a niece of 
Colonel Malbone, and, by 1815, was the strongest pillar of the Old Trin- 
ity Church. As early as 1792, Daniel Putnam was the proprietor of much 
of the Malbone estate, and had one of the largest dairies in town. This 
estate was widely knoAvn as the "Putnam Elms." 

Colonel Godfrey Malbone remained a true friend of England dur- 
ing the Revolutionary War, but accepted defeat and change of govern- 
ment with becoming philosophy. A true gentleman, scorning all hypoc- 
risy, he, in the end, gained the respect and admiration of those who had 
been most opposed to him. 

Colonel Godfrey Malbone lived apart from the people of Pomfret 
and Brooklyn, having nothing in common with them. From the Col- 
onials all he had received was wrongs. He paid his share of taxes, 
was always polite when approached, and was willing to help the needy, 
but he had no respect for his neighbors' beliefs. He was by birth an 
Episcopalian— not a popular nor common sect in the community. In 
return, the people had little respect for the person of the Colonel. It 
is said that a storekeeper put out a sign in Brooklyn which read "What 
wont money buy?" and a wag wrote below the sign "All the money in 
this place, couldn't buy Malbone a handsome face." 

According to the law of the Colonies, Colonel Malbone was taxed 
for the support of the Society unless he attended some other church, 
which for him was impossible, since the nearest church of his faith was 
in Norwich. So when Brooklyn decided to build a new meeting-house 
he was much opposed, declaring that wanting a new building was a 
"ridiculous spirit of pride and emulation" and that they were about 
to demolish a structure as good and sound as when first finished, in 
order to build a "larger, newer, and probably yellower" one than the 
great new meeting-house which had recently been erected in Pomfret 
and which was painted bright yellow like a barn. 

However, Colonel Malbone's opposition only increased the deter- 
mination of Colonel Israel Putnam and other leaders in the Societv, 
to the end that two rival churches were built, one by the Society, and 
the other by Colonel Malbone. Both are still standing. The old Epis- 



98 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

copalian church is now opened once a year, on All Saints' Day, since 
a new edifice has been built in Brooklyn; but the church and the church- 
yard, where Malbone and many of his followers sleep, are kept in good 
repair. The church has never changed in any respect, and stands as 
an historical landmark to religious freedom, on the old Church Road 
in Brooklyn. 

A descendant of the Malbone slaves, one Rufus Malbone, lived for 
a long time about a mile west of the city of Putnam. Rufus was a hard- 
working man and greatly attached to his horse. One night he drove 
home from Providence and was thrown from his wagon; when he re- 
covered consciousness, in the morning, he found the faithful horse 
standing over him. So deep was Rufus' attachment to his faithftd beast 
that he requested that upon his own death his horse should be shot 
and buried with him. This request was fulfilled; the horse was buried 
by his side in a small enclosure near his home, east of the Gary school- 
house. He left a sum of money for a monument, a slender shaft which 
reads: "Rufus G. Malbone, died October 12, 1884, aged sixty years, 
seven months, twenty days." On the opposite side is marked: "Dollie, 
his faithful horse, died Oct. 25, 1884." 

The following, taken from "Newport Illustrated," pub. 1854, gives 
a sidelight on Malbone's early environment. The estate of Godfrey 
Malbone, Esquire, had been left to his son, Godfrey, later of Pomfret. 
It was situated on Tammany Hill, site of the home of Wannemeton- 
omie, son of Miantonomo. It was famous for its beautiful grounds, 
artificial fish-grounds, orchards and wonderful view. 

In 1766 the Malbone house was accidentally burned, the flames 
breaking out just as a large party was about to sit down to dinner. 
Col. Malbone, finding it impossible to save the house, ordered the din- 
ner taken to the lawn and served, observing "If I have lost my house, 
there is no reason why I should lose my dinner." 

The loss of his mansion seems to have climaxed his losses at New- 
port, and soon after he removed to the wilderness of Pomfret. During 
the Revolution Tammany Hill was surmounted by a breastwork, thrown 
up by the British, and was made one of a chain of outposts along the 
Island. 

When the property passed out of the Malbone family, Edward 
Malbone, descendant of Godfrey Malbone, Esq., devoted himself to 
painting, with imabated zeal, hoping to be able to buy back the Mal- 
bone estate, but hard work shortened his life. The picture that made 
him famous, "The Hours", long remained in Providence. 



ISRAEL PUTNAM 

Among the first settlers of Salem, Massachusetts, in 1634, were John 
Putnam, his good wife Priscilla, and their sons, Nathan, Thomas and 
John. They were descendants of a noble English family. 



ISRAEL PUTNAM 99 

Salem was then a small town, with quaint flat-roofed houses, the 
streets level, irregular and unattractive. During the witchcraft delusion 
about 1700, Joseph Putnam, father of Israel Putnam, endangered his 
own life by his outspoken disapproval of the persecutions, gaining the 
illwill of his own relatives and neighbors. As a precaution, he kept 
his musket loaded, and a fleet horse saddled at all times, ready for 
flight, should he be accused of the "crime" of witchcraft. 

Israel Putnam was born January 7, 1718. His family must have 
been well to do, for when he came to Pomfret, a young married man, 
with his infant son, he brought slaves to clear his land, and was able 
to stock his plantation with sheep and cattle. 

As a boy, Israel hated the classroom, but loved the great out-doors. 
At an early age he showed his fighting spirit; it is recounted that his 
father took him to Boston where his country clothes caused a town boy 
to ridicule him. Israel took it for a time, but when the taunting be- 
came unbearable, he gave his tormentor a sound thrashing, altho 
his opponent was a much bigger boy. 

When Israel Putnam came to Pomfret in 1739, the town of Brook- 
lyn was included in the section known as Mortlake, which belonged 
to the town of Pomfret, and from Jonathan Belcher he purchased 
Wiltshire Manor, a fine farm situated on the broad table lands of the 
Newichewanna Hills. 

Although Putnam had slaves to clear his acres and build his walls, 
and his farm was well stocked, he was not popular. Proud Pomfret 
looked down upon the "rough Mortlake farmer," the stranger in the 
Second Society of Pomfret. He owned no pew in the meeting-house, 
but sat on the rude backless benches near the entrance, through the 
long four hours of the service, listening to the Rev. Ephraim Avery 
propound the gospel, while the "peers of the parish" sat in the slightly 
elevated pews looking down upon him. At that time there were only 
seven houses besides the meeting-house, in the village. 

Putnam may not have owned a pew in the meeting-house, but he 
did own a fine bloodhound, which at least was appreciated by his 
neighbors. One winter morning on entering his sheepfold, he found 
that seventy of his flock were dead, and many lambs and kids wounded. 
His fighting blood was up, and he organized a hunt to destroy the she- 
wolf that had caused great damage to the flocks of the section. He 
knew her tracks, for she had lost two toes in a trap. She was old, but 
not too old to seek the western wilds of the state, Litchfield and vicinity, 
returning each autumn with a litter of whelps, each year an easy prey 
to the hunters, but the mother successftdly evaded them. 

Five of Putnam's neighbors agreed to hunt with him continually 
until the beast was killed. Hard pressed, she fled to her old haunts, 
but was turned back at the Connecticut River, and returned again to 
Pomfret. A light snow aided the hunters. John Sharpe, a lad of seven- 
teen, was the first to discover her track, leading up to the rocky ledge 
and into the low aperture about two feet square at the base of the cliff. 



100 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

The shouts of the hunters and the baying of the hounds soon brought 
other hunters up the incline to the den, only half a mile from the house 
of the Reverend Ebenezer Williams, who no doubt heard the alarm, 
and hastened to the spot. The wild rugged hills echoed the cry of the 
hunt, and the whole town was soon out. The wolf was in the den, but 
how was she to be got out? The dogs had entered, only to be torn and 
driven back, refusing to renew the attack. Straw and sulphur were 
burned before the entrance to no avail. Putnam called his negro ser- 
vant to enter the den, but he refused. Putnam threw off his waistcoat, 
and making a torch of birch bark, crawled into the cave. For about 
fifteen feet the narrow passage runs obliquely, with smooth rock floor. 
No part of it is high enough for a man to stand upright, or more than 
three feet wide. At the end of the narrow passage rose a wall ten feet 
high. Here he stopped as he saw the fiery eyes of the beast, about six- 
teen feet back in the cave, crouching and snarling. Putnam's friends 
outside, hearing the wolf, jerked the rope which was tied to his ankle, 
so vigorously pulling him out that his shirt was torn and stripped off 
over his head. Still determined, he rearranged his clothes and re-entered, 
with torch and gun in hand. Breathlessly the crowd waited. The min- 
utes must have seemed hours, before they heard the report of the gun, 
with snarls and growls from the enraged beast. Stimned and nearly 
suffocated, Putnam was dragged out again. 

Some activities and exploits of Israel Putnam were: 
1755— Commissioned Lietitenant by the Connecticut Legislature. 
1756— Joined Rogers' Rangers, was made Captain. 

1757— Saved Fort Edwards from being destroyed by fire, when endan- 
gered from a magazine stored with 300 barrels of gunpowder. 
When all others had fled, he alone put out the fire, suffering 
severe bums. 
1758— After becoming Major, he was captured by the Indians, and was 
at the point of being burned at the stake, when rescued by a 
French officer. 
1762— With the Montreal expedition he went to the West Indies as 
acting Colonel with a ConnecticiU Regiment, and was active in 
the attack on Morro Castle. 
1765— Returned to private life and his farm. He took up his work with 
the same energy he had shown in the war. He had already built 
a new house, and had greatly improved his lands with orchards 
and herds. His eldest son, Israel, had cairied on the farm while 
he was absent, but his dream of home was unfulfilled, for soon 
after his return, death claimed his wife, Hannah Pope, and his 
daughter, Elizabeth, leaving him with seven children, from Israel 
aged twenty-five down to Peter Schuyler, aged a few months. 
The house, where the first Mrs. Israel Putnam died, still stands, 
just over the Pomfret-Brooklyn line in Brooklyn, on the side-road 
running east from Highway 93. This side-road descends the eastern 
slope of Newichewanna Hills to the old Church Road, coming out not 



ISRAEL PUTNAM 101 

far from where the Cooney road also entered the Church Road. The 
first Pomfret Landing schoolhouse, the first in the section, was on the 
Cooney Road, probably less than a mile west of the Pomfret Landing 
Bridge. Likely the Putnam children attended there, as it was not more 
than two miles from their home, and the only one in the section. 

Soon after the death of his wife, Putnam united with the Brooklyn 
Church. Two years later he married Madame Deborah Gardiner, a 
lady he had long known as the wife of the Rev. Ephraim Avery, first 
pastor of the parish. Once Putnam had sat unnoticed under Avery's 
preaching, while Mrs. Avery sat in the parish pew. After the death 
of Rev. Avery, she became the wife of John Gardiner, of Gardiner's 
Island, a notable man of the times. Widowed the second time, she re- 
turned to her old parish home on the common. Putnam, then famous, 
won her favor. This marriage added much to his social standing, and 
connected him with many prominent families, for she had a large circle 
of friends. 

Although a gallant officer of renown, he devoted himself to his 
farming, imported valuable livestock, and set out large orchards. His 
townspeople now delighted to honor him. He presided at Town and 
Society meetings, was first selectman, deputy to the General Assembly, 
laid out roads, set out school districts, hired schoolmasters, paid bounties 
on crow heads, collected parish rates, and had the job of "seeting the 
meeting-house", not an easy task, for every man was seated according 
to his standing in the parish. 

His son. Col. Israel Putnam, Jr., then a young man, remained at 
the great rambling fannhouse on the side-road until 1787, when he 
sold the property to Joseph Mathewson, and emigrated to Ohio, where, 
with Rufus Putnam, a cousin of Massachusetts, and one Dr. Manasseh 
Cutler of Killingly, he became one of the founders of the company that 
settled Marietta, Ohio. 

Clarina Chandler, second wife of Col. Israel Putnam, Jr., ac- 
companied them on this long hard journey, riding a horse 28 years 
old, and sleeping in the wagons at night. While en route, she gave birth 
to a babe that did not live. She died in her Ohio home in 1801, at 
the age of 34, leaving 6 children. 

Peter Schuyler, Putnam's youngest son, removed to Williamstown, 
Mass. Daniel was the only one to remain in Pomfret. Through his 
marriage to a niece of Col. Malbone, he became proprietor of Kingswood. 
He was an ardent leader in turnpike affairs, and was instrumental in 
putting through the pike from Norwich to Woodstock. 

The daughters of General Putnam were a Mrs. Waldo, Mrs. Lemuel 
Grosvenor, and Mrs. Tyler, wife of Gen. Daniel Tyler, who built the 
Mortlake House, famous stagecoach tavern, owned by Mrs. Theodore 
Roosevelt as a summer home for several years. 

The last days of General Putnam were peaceful and happy. His 
right arm was paralyzed, yet he was able to ride his horse about his 
farm, attend public meetings, and visit his children. He died after 



102 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

two days' illness on May 19, 1790. He was said by President Dwight 
of Yale College to have been to Windham Comity what Washington 
was to the comitry "first in peace, first in war, first in the hearts of his 
coimtrymen." 

After Ptitnam's marriage to Mrs. Gardiner, he left the new house 
he had built at Wiltshire before 1760, and moved to Brooklyn, occupy- 
ing the Avery homestead. His dwelling had become too small to ac- 
connnodate the throngs of guests that visited him. The opening of 
the A\ery homestead as an Inn, proves Putnam to have been a shrewd 
business man as well as soldier. At this period, 1768, he used the 
friendly nickname given him by the British officers of the Indian War, 
"General W^olf". Before his door he displayed a sign of "General Wolf," 
a figure dressed in fidl military costume, standing with outstretched 
arm, inviting the public to enter. 

A giant sycamore stands at the gateway to this famous Inn near 
a marker placed by the Daughters of the American Revolution. 

General Putnam's second wife, Mrs. Avery Gardiner Putnam, died 
before the end of the Revokuion, in 1777. 



CHURCH CONTROVERSY 

In the controversy in 1769 over building a new meeting-house on 
Brooklyn Green, Israel Putnam led with the same vigor he had shown 
in the wolf hunt. It is believed that he and Malbone had a bond of 
friendship, despite their bitter differences. It is true that the meeting- 
house was only thirty years old, when the younger set declared it unfit 
to worship in. They were determined not to be outdone by Pomfret, 
Abington and Westminster, and this may have influenced their desire 
for a new building. 

Brooklyn has been suddenly put upon the map by Putnam's re- 
moval there. His famous tavern was patronized by the better class in 
the County, and the "old shaky meeting-house with its patched roof 
and boarded Avindo\vs" was a disgrace to the green, for in those days 
the meeting-house was a symbol of the wealth and standing of the so- 
ciety. 

History does not record any formal opening of the new church, 
but according to tradition, a great company of people attended. An 
ancestor of the writer, who was present, handed down a story that a 
large crowd was assembled on the green, when a wag asked one old 
rhymster if he had some rhyme ready for the occasion. The old man 
squinted one eye, sur\e\ed the crowd and meeting-house, and said 
"Great big meeting-house, great big steeple. 
Blind guide and ignorant people." 
He probably was a Malbonite. 

Contrary to Col. Malbone's prediction, the new meeting-house was 
"colored white." The master builder was Daniel Tvler, who had built 



LEXINGTON ALARM 103 

the first one. Undoubtedly the criticism by Malbone was responsible 
for the "genteel meeting-house" with convenient porches and handsome 
steeple, built at Tyler's own expense. Joseph Scarborough left a be- 
quest for a bell, the second in the county, but died before the building 
was completed. The town voted for an "Electaric Rod," also. 

Ample seating was provided. Five seats 11 feet long were ranged 
each side of a broad alley. The remaining area was occupied with 
forty three pews "the top of the floor of the wall pews was to be 9 inches 
above the top of the floor of the house, that of the body pews were to be 
four and one half inches above the same." When all was done the house 
was entrusted to the care of its most honored citizen, it being voted that 
"Colonel Putnam take care of the new meeting-house and ring the 
bell, at three pounds a year," which he faithfully did. 

When Putnam set off to war, the Rev. Whitney rang the bell in 
his place. It was ordered that the bell should be rung on "Sabbaths, 
Fasts, Thanksgiving, and lectures, and at 12 of clock noon and 9 at 
night." 



LEXINGTON ALARM 

At eight o'clock on Thursday morning, April 20, 1775, a messenger 
from Worcester's Town Clerk delivered a dispatch to Daniel Tyler, Jr., 
of Brooklyn, giving notice of the attack at Lexington. Putnam, plowing 
in his field, heard the summons, and unyoking his oxen, sent his son 
Daniel to tell his mother. Then mounting his swiftest horse, he galloped 
away for "consultation with town committees and military officers," as 
messengers rode by horse to all parts of the country, and drums called 
the townspeople together. 

When Putnam returned at night, he found hundreds of men from 
miles around, assembled on Brooklyn Green, awaiting news, ready and 
willing to go, but he bade them wait until duly called out by the militia. 
Then, without rest, he started at sunset for Cambridge, making the trip 
in 18 hours, so it is said. On such rides, horses were changed several 
times during the journey. 

On that pleasant April morning, a "Captain Hubbard," a neighbor 
of Putnam, was working on an adjoining field laying stone, when the 
man on horseback, with a drum, stopped to tell him of the battle of 
Lexington and Concord. Being a very methodical man, Hubbard walked 
home at once, put everything in order, filled his knapsack, and started 
for camp. Benjamin Hubbard, of Brooklyn, lived in the Malbone dis- 
trict, near the first little schoolhouse, and the family were among the 
influential families of Brooklyn. 

It has been said of General Putnam, that he not only excelled in 
the planning of campaigns, but in carrying out orders of his superiors. 
Even in the thick of the battle, he had many thrilling experiences. 



104 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

One of the most spectacular was his escape from the British on horse- 
back on March 2, 1779, at Putnam Hill in West Greenwich, Conn., 5 
miles west of Stamford, on the road to New York. At the time of the 
Revolution, on the brow of Putnam Hill, there was a small Episcopal 
Church. Here the hill descended abruptly to the valley below. The 
congregation that lived at the foot of the hill had placed 70 broad 
stepping-stones up the hill to the church, to avoid the tedious walk by 
the circling road to the summit. General Tryon, with 1500 men, ap- 
proached the church where Putnam, and 150 men, had planted a can- 
non. Their escape cut off, Putnam ordered his men to "provide for their 
own safety," and wheeling his horse "plunged down the precipice at 
full trot." The dragoons were but a sword's length from him, for the 
declivity w^as so abrupt that they dare not follow. Before they could 
gain the valley by going around the brow of the hill in the ordinary 
way, Putnam was far beyond their reach. One shot, however, of the 
many fired at him, went through his hat, as he passed down the hill. 
(Barber's Historical Collection) 



MORTLAKE HOUSE 1778 

Captain Daniel Tyler, builder of this large tavern house, known 
as the Mortlake House, was the son of Daniel Tyler, master builder of 
the first and second worship houses of Brooklyn. The younger Daniel 
lived to be the oldest inhabitant in the town. He died February 20, 1902, 
at the age of a hundred and two. Daniel, his youngest son, was the 
only one of the family to remain in Brooklyn, and after graduating 
from Harvard, married a daughter of General Putnam. 

Captain Daniel Tyler was prominent in the Revohuionary era, 
serving as adjutant to General Putnam. He raised and equipped a 
company of militia that rendered great service when New London and 
Rhode Island were threatened with invasion. When building his house 
in Brooklyn he had war conditions in mind, for secret escapes, leading 
to cellar and roof, w^ere built in the walls of the "keeping room" as 
cupboards. 

In the style of the day, the house was two stories, with long sloping 
roof to the back, but the main floor has been raised a story, making 
the original first floor the second, with the original kitchen unchanged. 
The same iron teakettle swings on the crane in the open fireplace, and 
the atmosphere of other days still prevails. 

Captain Tyler was twice married. His second wife came from the 
distinguished Jonathan Edwards family. He was father of twenty 
children, had fifty grandchildren, and one hundred ten great-grand- 
children. He carried on a mercantile business, and believed in adver- 
tising. In 1784 he advertised in the "Norwich Packet" for 500 lbs. of 
flax seed, which he "will pay for with rock salt, West India goods or 



THE UNITARIAN CONTROVERSY 105 

European goods." He also wanted "to buy good butter, cheese and port 
at highest prices, also 4000 wt. of tallow and twenty fat oxen &:&8c." 
One of his sons, Paschal P. Tyler, followed him in business. 

The Mortlake House in 1855 was the home of D. P. Tyler, Esq. 
The hotise was undoubtedly a tavern in stage coach days, which brought 
so much prosperity into Windham County. 

Mrs. Theodore Roosevelt, a descendant of the family, owned the 
Mortlake House as a summer home. In 1949 the Mortlake House was 
sold to Elmer Brenn and remodeled for apartments. 



THE UNITARIAN CONTROVERSY 

The old church in Brooklyn was the center of controversy which 
continued after it was built. By 1800 religious opinions were numerous. 
The Rev. Josiah Whitney, who had been with them for a half cen- 
tury, could no longer attend to all the church ^vork, and a younger 
man was called to be pastor in 1813. The Rev. Luther Williams of 
Braintree proved to be a Unitarian. The younger folk soon became 
his followers, and a division came in the church body. 

Many of the parish remained with the Rev. Whitney, upholding 
the old Saybrook platform and the orthodox banner, but nevertheless 
the new element obtained control of the church, and there came a Sun- 
day when Dr. Whitney and his friends found themselves locked out 
on a Communion Day. In fancy we can picture this faithful band of 
worshipers, with their beloved old pastor in his quaint garb and flowing 
white wig, gathered at the meeting-house at the great south door which 
had been locked against them, an incident which must have been long 
remembered in Brooklyn. The distressed flock at first hired an attic 
in a dwelling, and later worshipped for some years in the basement of 
the new Court House (now the Town Hall). 

Dr. Whitney died at the age of 94 years. Through his gentle spirit 
he had retained the devotion of his parish, through the trying period 
of church troubles. The old Church had become Unitarian, the church 
that had been the pride and ambition of Israel Putnam, the church with 
the stately steeple, the church which, fifty years before, Putnam had 
struggled so hard to build, where he had rung the bell, guided by a 
notch cut on the floor of the vestibule, indicating the hour of noon when 
the sun shone upon it. This mark, although dim, is still visible and 
should be preserved. Israel Putnam was buried from this church in the 
most impressive funeral service, conducted by Rev. Whitney, that Wind- 
ham County had ever witnessed. 

Although not a deeply religious man, it would be interesting to 
know which side of the trouble PiUnam might have taken; for he loved 
the church building he had helped to build. For that reason he might 
have gone with the Unitarians. 



106 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

The west end is still covered with hand-hewn clapboards, broad 
shingles resembling clapboards, which it is said were hewn by him. 
This church was badly damaged in the hurricane of 1938, losing its 
high steeple, repaired in 1939. 

In 1821 the Congregationalists of Brooklyn built a chapel where 
they worshipped until 1832, when they built themselves a church. The 
Baptists used the chapel for some years before building the brick house 
of worship. 

Since the Congregational Church was demolished in the hurricane 
of 1938 the Congregational Society have worshipped in the old Baptist 
edifice which stands on the site of the first Brooklyn meeting-house. 

For many years courts have been held in Danielson, but the old 
courthouse, now the Town Hall, stands on the corner facing the Uni- 
tarian Church, the town well, and the Putnam Monimient. The first 
jail or "gaol" adjoined the courthouse on the left. The "gaoler's" house 
was directly in the rear. Both have long been removed. 

The Brooklyn Library originally"- was in the Windham Comity 
Bank Building. In 1822 the WinflbcifR County Bank was incorporated, 
and located in Brooklyn. A neat new building was built, well the pride 
of the people of the County. The Windham County Mutual Fire Insur- 
ance Co. was incorporated in 1826. The Bank would not admit as stock- 
holders, any except their own County citizens; a "close communion 
bank," it was called by many, as a pun on the Baptists who in those days 
were very strict with whom they communed. The bank is now located in 
Danielson. 

In 1820 the first Agrictdtural Society was organized and meetings 
held in Brooklyn. Pomfret had organized a Society in 1809, called Pom- 
fret United Agiicultural Society, for the benefit of Pomfret, Woodstock 
and Brooklyn, where premiums w^ere given in live stock and produce. 
It is said that the Windham County Agricultural Society is the oldest 
agricultural society in the United States. Fairs are held annually, and 
prizes awarded on crops and livestock. 

The buildings at the Brooklyn Fair Grounds, built by Ebenezer 
Jewett, second, of Hampton, were badly damaged in the hurricane of 
1938, since repaired. 



CHAPTER IX 

WEST OF THE MASHAMOQUET-ABINGTON 

In the autumn of 1698, Sarah Horrel Goodell left the friendly vil- 
lage of Woodstock, following the Path alone, far out into the wilds of 
the Nipmuck wilderness, seeking the cabin that she had been told by 
friends her hvisband was making ready for her. He had left for the new 
country in the early spring. Receiving no tidings of him, she resolved to 
join him, so taking her spinning wiieel, she traversed the lonely trail from 
Roxbury, Mass., depending upon chartce "lifts" from fellow travelers 
along the way. 

She could not be prevailed^ upoj. to remain overnight at Wood- 
stock, but, spinning wheel in hand, she hurried on through the forest 
gloom. South of Woodstock lay the Mashamoquet in the Nipmuck Coun- 
try, the future town of Pomfret. At this period the only settler in the 
Purchase was John Sabin, near the Woodstock line, the Bartholomew 
place. The path that Sarah Horrel Goodell trod that autumn night, two 
hundred and fifty years ago, led over Ragged Hill in the western section, 
miles from the Sabin home. She traveled the rocky trail, ragged and steep, 
down through the valleys, over the brooks and on for many a weary mile, 
until at last, as the last rays faded in the west, she came to the little 
clearing, and there, by the side of the "way", she foimd her cabin home. 

This first Goodell home is believed to have stood near the summit 
of Easter Hill, in the Elliott section of Pomfret, so named from its last 
resident. Traces of the old cellar remain near a fine spring of water. 

In 1709 Thomas Goodell sold this first cabin and clearing with its 
young orchards to Ebenezer Truesdell, and built himself a large and sub- 
stantial dwelling on the northern slope of the hill, about one-fourth of a 
mile south of the present Abington Church. 

He owned several hundred acres of land between Blackwell's Brook 
and Abington Brook. His land was crossed by the King's Highway up to 
1870, when that section of this ancient road was closed by the laying of the 
N.Y., N.H. & H. R.R. Travel was diverted through Abington Common, 
now Route 97. 

The Goodells were of Huguenot origin. All of their eleven children 
were born before 1721. The first child, Humphrey, born Oct. 30, 1699, 
was the first white child born in the limits of the Mashamoquet Purchase. 

The Goodell familv lived for many generations at their second 
home site. A marvelous growth of lilacs still thrive by the open gate. 
A crumbling chimney, broad door stones, and a near-by well are all 
that remain to mark this century old pioneer homestead. 

Captain Zachariah Goodell (French and Indian War) sold the land 
(for twenty pounds old tenor) for the site of the meeting-house in 1751. 



108 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

Captain Goodell and his wife Hannah "Liv'd Together in ye Married 
State 58 years Sc Their Death They were not Devided" (Inscription in 
Abington Burying Ground). 

The last of the family to live at the homestead were Harvey and 
Matilda, a blind brother and sister. It was also the home of William 
Goodell, a prominent anti-slavery writer and editor (1833). He delighted 
in saying he was a graduate of Abington's little red schoolhouse. 

Rev. Jessie Goodell was among those of the first eleven young men 
of Pomfret to graduate from Yale in 1761. A lady visitant from Massa- 
chusetts querying for what purpose so many young men were being 
educated, was told that they were being trained to go to her state as 
missionaries, which chanced to be true, as many did settle in Massachu- 
setts, holding positions of usefulness and honor (Ellen Earned). 

INGALLS 

Edmund Ingalls came to Salem, in Endicotts Company in 1628, began 
settlement of Lynn in 1629. 20/4/1646 was fined for bring- 
ing sticks home in both arms on the Sabbath Day. Was 
drowned March 1648. 

James Ingalls (son of Henry and Mary Osgood Ingalls) 
b. May 3, 1653 

m. Hannah Abbott, had 9 children 
d. June 27, 1735 (from Ingalls genealogy) 

JAMES INGALLS HOMESTEAD (POMFRET) 

The Ingalls family were among the first settlers of Andover, Mass., 
coming to Pomfret in 1720. They settled in the southwestern wilder- 
ness, thus becoming neighbors of the Goodells. Young James Ingalls 
was accompanied by his wife, Mary Stevens, a bride of a year, and his 
widowed mother, Hannah Abbott Ingalls, who brought her garden 
seed, on horse back, for her pioneer garden. 

The first few years were lean ones in the pioneer country, and 
young James Ingalls often regretted leaving Andover, which in those 
days was an old settled section. Poor seasons and unrelenting labor so 
discouraged him that one day in despair he left his plow in the field, 
and returned to the house, determined to tell his young wife that they 
would give up and return to their native home. As he neared the house 
he heard her cheerfully singing about her work; her song cheered him, 

ABINGTON CHURCH 

1. Abington Church, built 1751. 

2. Map — Jas. Hutchins, owned by J. Willits, Jr. Built by first parish minister, 
Rev. David Ripley, 1752. 

3. Map — S. Lyon, owned by C. E. Griggs Est. Built by Rev. Walter Lyon, 
second parish minister from 1783-1826. 

4. Map — Rev. H. B. Smith. Home of present minister Rev., C. K. Tracy. 
Been in picture Rev. Read, 1911. 



JAMES INGALLS HOMESTEAD (POMFRET) 111 

and his courage rising to the occasion he went back to his work, saying 
"If she can endure these hardships, then so will I." Thus a woman's 
courage saved a fine citizen and a splendid family for the town of Pom- 
fret. 

Not until 1730 was a highway sinveyed through the southwestern 
section of the town. Hitherto the road had gone no further west than 
Lyon's Mill, ending at a cart bridge over the Mashamoqtiet. Thus 
opened a direct route from Norwich through Windham and Pomfret 
to the Middle Post Road. Just south of Abington Church there still 
remains an ancient mile stone which reads "69 M to Bofton 15 M to 
W." 

A second mile stone stands a mile south near the once popular 
tavern house of James Ingalls, pioneer. The old saying "fortunate is 
the Innkeeper by a mile-stone" no doubt was true in his case, and also 
fortunate was the weary traveler who was there entertained. 

The house was a large two story lean-to, with a stone chimney in 
the center. The long lean-to roof is still visible in the garret of the 
house, over which was built a modern roof at the period when the 
colonial was not appreciated. But the great summer-trees, corner posts 
and heavy hand-forged hinges remain, and preserve much of the atmo- 
sphere of early times. Some of the square rooms still retain their colonial 
paneling. 

Granite stone steps leading down into the deep cellar are reminders 
of the old tavern days when casks of West India Rum were rolled down 
the stairs. The outer walls of the house are lined with brick for pro- 
tection again Indian attack, as is the old Sabin house on Sabin's cor- 
ner. Brick kilns were opened at Woodstock by 1700. 

The horse block, with stepping stones for mounting, remains in- 
tact. Sheds once stood a little south of the house, where horses were 
stabled and fed. There were no harness hooks in this shed, but saddle- 
hooks, indicating that it served the public in the days before wheeled 
vehicles. This shed was standing in the boyhood of the present owner, 
Mr. Howard Thornton, who also recalls that the horses were fed from 
a long chestnut trough. A negro slave acted as hostler. 

James Ingalls gave the plot of land for Abington's first Parish Bury- 
ing Ground, where rest the two first ministers — Rev. David Ripley 
and Rev. Walter Lyon, together with many members of their Society. 

ABINGTON CENTER 

1. Map — E. Griggs. Ell was first dwelling in section. Owned by Bert White- 
house. See Capt. Ruggles. 

2. Map— D. Smith. Owned by Mrs. Ruth Howe Clark. Built 1804. 

3. Map — E. W. Sessions. Owned by Town Clerk, Willis Covell. Built before 1800. 

4. Map — P. M. Allen. A 1760 house. Owned by Geo. I. Booker. 

5. Map— Saw and Grist Mill. Holbrook-Sessions-Covell Mills 1719-1919. First 
grist and second saw mill on Mashamoquet. 

6. Map — A. L. Chamberlain. Owned by Rep. Edna Sharp. 

7. Map — Chas. Grosvenor. Homestead in Grosvenor family from early settle- 
ment until 1944. Owned by Alfred Arnold. Earlier Grosvenor house in background. 



112 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

The deed given by James Ingalls was recorded in 1765 by Ebenezer 
Williams, Jr., Town Clerk, "a piece of Land Lying North of My Dwell- 
ing house known by the name of the Burying-place, containing about 
three quarters of an acre enclosed by a stone wall." This plot had been 
used as a burial place for some years. Hannah Ingalls, his mother, who 
died in 1753, was buried in the Gary-Cady burying ground, and that 
her memory was cherished in her family is shown by the care given 
her grave by her grandson Capt. Geo. Ingalls, throughout his lifetime. 
The land for Abington Common was purchased from Beacham 
Goodell in 1764. Here Zebediah Ingalls trained his company before 
1775, and later Capt. Geo. Ingalls. 



EPHRAIM INGALLS INN, ON THE COMMON 

Ephraim Ingalls, son of the pioneer innholder, James Ingalls, was 
born in 1725 and died in 1805. He married Mary Sharpe and had 12 
children. The little house on the southwest corner of the old common, 
now owned by Eva Cunningham, was sold in 1801 to Ephraim Ingalls 
(Town Record). 

When yet a young man he built the tavern house on the common 
and there kept a public house "to the good acceptance of the people" 
many years after the closing of the James Ingalls Inn in 1767. 

This Inn was built in the overhang style of that period, which is 
rare in Windham County today. (Only one other, in Chaplin, remains 
to our knowledge.) It contained but two large rooms and two cham- 
bers, and high posted canopy beds piled high with feather beds and 
wool blankets accommodated the public. The road at that time wound 
around the west side of the common near the house, and travelers 
alighted on the broad front door stone. A long leanto kitchen sloped 
to the west. Here also was the taproom. 

It is difficult to reconcile the religious extremes and temperance 
laxity of our ancestors. Ellen Larned, in a published paper on Abing- 
ton in 1901 said: "Abington probably sinned no more than her neigh- 
bors, tho we have heard some hard stories of Esq. Sumner's cider mill, 
and the crowd that frequented there. And we may be sure that the sol- 
diers and travelers, entertained during the Revolutionary War in tav- 
erns kept by Ephraim Ingalls and Abel Clark, on Abington Street, had 
all the liquor that was good for them. But this may be said that as soon 
as the temperance Reformation was fairly underway Abington was 
ready to bear her part." 

The Sumner cider mill mentioned was the old building just south 
of the Grange Hall, now a dwelling house, well remembered as the 
Newell Badger blacksmith, which for many years previous had been a 
cider mill, the power to grind the apples furnished by a sweep pro- 
pelled by a horse. 



HOMESTEAD OF EPHRAIM INGALLS, JR. 113 

EPHRAIM INGALLS, JR. HOMESTEAD, OWNED BY 
MRS. DOROTHY SMITH CHAMBERLAIN 

Ephraim Ingalls, Jr. sold this fine homestead to Stephen Smith in 
1832. Built about 1800 it stood near the Ephraim Ingalls, Sr. Inn on 
the common. 

Lucy Goodell Ingalls died at the age of thirty years, leaving nine 
children, one of whom was Charles Ingalls, then a lad of 12. His father 
died in 1829, five years later, at 68. Five of the children went to Illinois 
in 1834. 

A glimpse of the life of this Ingalls family is revealed to us in a 
letter written by Charles Ingalls, of Chicago, and read on Old Home 
Day, Aug. 21, 1901, the 150th anniversary of the Abington church — 
'Tather's fenced-in pew, I remember, was in the N.E. corner of the 
church. Stoves or fire were nowhere in the building. Priest Lyon 
preached forty years without stoves or fire. In the fifties the buffalo 
tracks running down to the Platte River for water, six or eight inches 
deep, reminded me of Rev. Walter Lyon's path from his study to his 
pulpit, during the forty years he was treading it down." 

Another Ingalls home still standing in Abington is the Draeger, 
built about 1750, which stands well back from the road, an ideal colonial 
house. It remained in the Ingalls family until 1800 when it was sold 
to E. Sharpe (Town Record). 

The James Ayer house was a Goodell house, probably built at 
a later date. It stands on an old lane that once connected Windham 
Road with the King's Highway. 

In 1775 there were 2316 inhabitants in Pomfret. Abington So- 
ciety had barely established when in 1755 the French and Indian War 
broke out and all men eligible for service were called out under the 
leadership of Lieutenant Ebenezer Holbrook, and Captain John Gros- 
venor. Many followed the fates of Israel Putnam in the French and 
Indian War, and in the War of Great Britain with Spain in 1762. A 
company went with that brave officer to Havana. Most of them died 
from the fever and effects of the climate. 

As we look back it would seem a useless task that colonial men 
should have fought the battles of Britain and France. But the bringing 
together of men from different communities, towns and provinces took 
them out of their own little world and broadened their minds by ex- 
change of thought on public matters. They had learned that British 
officers were but men after all, and that the Pomfret Wolf Den hero was 
a brave soldier and leader, experience which served as a background 
for the troubled days ahead. 

Although schools had been kept for forty years, there was at this 
period the usual lack of books and papers. 

No postoffices or club rooms were established other than the sub- 
stitute ample kitchen of James Ingalls' Inn on Windham Road, and the 
Caleb Grosvenor Tavern on Ashford Road, Captain Holbrook's Grist 
Mill on the Mashamoquet, and Captain Zebediah Ingalls' blacksmith 
shop. 



114 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

A flat rock that served the purpose of a forge in this historic shop 
is now in the center of a flower garden in the door yard of the home 
of Richard Newton. In this shop many men took the Freeman's oath, 
and on the common before its door Sons of Liberty trained under Cap- 
tain Ingalls. 

The great bellows of the forge was operated by a horse sweep. 
Tradition claims that the horse worked so many years in a circle, he 
even fed in a circle in the pasture. 

ABINGTON'S HONOR ROLL 1775 

It is to the credit of the women of Pomfret that of all the military 
companies that marched to Bunker Hill, only one other was as well 
equipped as Pomfret militia. Our fore-mothers looked well to the ways 
of their households. 

There were 81 names of the men in the original company on Ab- 
ington's Honor Roll of Volunteers in 1775. All the names are not avail- 
able, but among them were Dr. Elisha Lord, examining surgeon; Zebe- 
diah Ingalls, Captain; John Weld, 1st Left; Abner Adams, 2nd Left; 
Privates— Thomas Cotton, John Dresser, Stephen Avery, Jr., Elihu Sa- 
bin, John Wason, Wm. Wason, Cornelius Goodell, Edward Goodell, 
Jr., Ebenezer Gregg, William Abbott, Jr., Lem'l Ingalls, Paul Davison, 
William Pike, Naham Cady, William Barber, Jonathan Waldo, Apple- 
ton Osgood, Walter Bowman, John Sawyer, Edward Craft, Jonathan 

Holmes, Oliver Carpenter, Elizah , Abner Allin, Levi Stearns, 

Joseph Shaw, Jun., James Spence, Asa Allin, David Cady, Lemuel Fling, 
Thomas Stone, Nehemiah Bacon, Thomas Jones, Joil Read, Joseph 
Allyn, Abner Allen, Joseph Cummings, Nathan Greene, Joseph Whit- 
ney, Amos Barrett, Reuben Legg, Amaziah Trasset, Daniel Sharpe, 
Abijah Downing, Jonas Baker, Philemon Chandler, Thomas Goodell, 
Ephraim Herrick, Jonathan Sanger, Elisha Stowell, Benj. Durkee, Asa 
Pike, Nathaniel Sabin, Benjamin Covell, Abraham Farman, Lebbius 
Kimball, Joseph Bowman, Jun., Lemuel Vose, Daniel Ballon, John Cotes, 
Isaac Mason, and Daniel Dwight. 

The original roll is in the possession of descendants of Captain 
Zebediah Ingalls in Brooklyn, Conn. 

Names of soldiers in the old burying ground— Abel Clark, Daniel 
Dwight, Ebenezer Eaton, Joshua Grosvenor, Zebediah Ingalls, Zebediah 

ABINGTON FOUR CORNERS 

1. Abington Four Corners before 1905, before school house was turned 
around. Edw. Peal's meat cart. Left — Peck's Store. Note GASOLINE sign. Then 
gasoline was not drawn after dark by lantern light. 

2. Map — Putnam Sumner. Old Bolles Tavern House built 1826. Owned by 
Mrs. Elizabeth Baker. Left, Abington school house. To be used by the Abington 
Fire Company. 

3. Map — Amasa Allen. He kept first grocery store and P.O. when mail came 
by stage from Dayville. Left, Episcopal Chapel, moved 1941 to Baker property. 

4. An earlier view of Abington store. 

5. Abington Store 1949, owned by Geo. Potvin. 





I 




B 





-r -^ 




JOSEPH INGALLS HOUSE 117 

Ingalls, Jr., Silas Holt, Appleton Osgood, Wm. Osgood, Benjamin 
Ruggles, Robert Sharp, Reuben Sharpe, Wm. Trowbridge, Antipas 
White, Amasa Copeland, the last survivor of the war in Abington, died 
at 94 in 1854. Feeble in body and mind, in his last years he was ever 
living over his battles fought. 

In 1778 Ebenezer Cress was discharged from duty, to return and 
make shoes which were so sorely needed by the soldiers. He and many 
other Abington soldiers— among them Lemuel Ingalls, Ebenezer Hol- 
brook, John Holbrook, Thomas Grosvenor and John Pike, were not 
buried in the old burying ground. 

Pomfret had a few Tories and one traitor: one Nathan Frink, a 
lawyer, who posed first as a patriot, as became a brother-in-law of Schuy- 
ler Putnam, youngest son of Pomfret's hero. Seeing no advancement 
for himself in Freedom's cause, he became King's Attorney, and accepted 
the position of Deputy Stamp Master of Windham; and an office for 
handling the stamps was built on Pomfret Street, a little north of the 
present library. 

Patriots of Pomfret were making too many sacrifices to tolerate a 
traitor in their midst, and he was never permitted to open the office; 
he was driven out of town, and his property confiscated. 

In 1774, among other contributions to the cause, Pomfret sent 105 
sheep for the relief of Boston. 

At the beginning of those troubled times, Windham County had 
become an old and settled community, business enterprises were being 
undertaken; young men were anxious to harness the power of the 
streams, and the restrictions placed upon them by the Stamp Act were 
most obnoxious, bringing about a boycott of all foreign goods. 

It was many years later that tea again became in general use. In 
the settlement of the west in 1800, tea and coffee were called "slop," a 
drink for women and children. 

JOSEPH INGALLS HOUSE, OWNED BY MRS. A. F. CARTER 

The atmosphere of early days still clings to the place where Joseph 
and Sarah Ingalls settled in 1749, building their home on the pictiu'esque 
hill near the waterfall, on one of the tributaries of Blackwell's Brook. 

ABINGTON and ELLIOTTS 1 

1. Wolf Den Grange No. 61, organized 1887. 

2. Abington Depot showing Wm. Fay, station agent for 50 years, standing 
in door. 

3. Map — J. Wheaton. James Ingalls Pre-Revolutionary Tavern and Stage 
Coach Inn. Note child is standing on mounting block. Present owner, Howard 
lliornton. 

4. Map — J. Allen. Built by Capt. Zebediah Ingalls 1750. Owned by Fitz Henry 
Paine. 

5. Map — Geo. Ingalls. Home of Capt. Geo. Ingalls, of Pomfret's militia. 

6. Map — Louis Taylor. House in Baker Hollow owned by Roger Clapp. 

7. Abington Social Library, built in 1883. This, the oldest active Ladies' 
Library in the U.S., was founded 1793. 



118 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

The little low wood-colored house, with the wide front door facing the 
fair valley of Jericho, remained unchanged until within the last quarter 
century. But the remodeling and improvements have not destroyed the 
colonial beauty of the house. 

Joseph and Sarah Abbott Ingalls, of Andover, Mass. were parents 
of twelve children. He died in 1799, she in 1810. They rest in the old 
Gary-Cady burying ground, the first in the section, about one half mile 
west of their old home. 

Their second child, Peter (1752-1811) built his dwelling a short 
distance south of his father's place (the Cynthia Johnson place, which 
burned March 13, 1946). He was a tanner, and built a tannery at the 
foot of the falls, of which the chimney and wall foundations remain. 

Capt. Zebediah Ingalls, son of James, born at the old homestead 
in 1729, died there in 1800. Upon his marriage about 1750 to Esther 
Goodell he built the present FitzHenry Paine House, northwest of the 
Inn. Here he lived until after the Revolution. In 1788 he sold this 
property to his son, Lemuel, who had been born there in 1755, and re- 
turned to his parental home which as a tavern appears to have been 
closed since his father's death in 1767. 

Lemuel Ingalls, soldier of the Revolution, was discharged from ac- 
tive service to return home and repair arms. His old shop stood on the 
common until 1934 when it was razed in the construction of the state 
road. During his long life he held public offices, among them that of 
Judge of Probate. 

The homestead remained in the family until 1855, when it was 
sold by the estate of Warren Ingalls. The present owner, Mrs. Fitz- 
Henry Paine, is a direct descendant of Mrs. Lemuel Ingalls, and also 
of Israel Putnam. 

Lemuel Ingalls' son, George, was a soldier in the War of 1812, and 
was a captain of the militia that trained for many years on the common. 
An amusing story is told of his training days. The Company was drill- 
ing after a heavy rain, and the pompous Captain was stepping back- 
wards giving his orders, when he stepped into a depression where water 
had settled. He slipped and fell. Picking himself up with all the dig- 
nity at his command he shouted "Gee from the puddle, boys, gee from 
the puddle." 

His home was the present Sam Rich farm. He was a blacksmith, 
and maintained the Ingalls shop until after the Civil War. 

SILK INDUSTRY 

Like most New England housewives, Mrs. Lemuel Ingalls, wife of 
Judge Ingalls, a Revolutionary soldier, kept silk worms and made silk. 
Tradition tells us that she spun, wove and knit silk shawls for each of 
her three daughters. Their home was the present dwelling of FitzHenry 
Paine, of Abington. 

Daily during the spring months boys and girls gathered the mul- 
berry leaves to feed the constant appetites of the worms, until they 



JAMES INGALLS - GOODELL TAVERN HOUSE 119 

reached the chrysalis state, spinning their cocoons on branches pro- 
vided for them in the shed or attic where they were kept. Later these 
branches were dipped in scalding water to loosen the silk from tlie 
cocoon. 

Silk culture was introduced from France into New England in 
1732 by Dr. Aspinwall of Mansfield. In 1747 Gov. Law of Connecticut 
wore the first silk coat and stockings made in New England. In 1750 
his daughter had the first dress made from domestic silk. In 1755 it 
was made a matter of legislation whereby an ounce of white mulberry 
seed was sent to every parish in Connecticut, and for a time a bounty 
was paid on the trees and raw silk produced. Also in that year mul- 
berry trees were planted at Yale by President Styles. 

By 1760 a yard of silk could be made as cheaply as a yard of linen 
of eight runs to the pound. It was considered more profitable than any 
ordinary business. In 1793 we find record that 265 pounds of silk were 
produced, worth $5 per pound, and an ounce of sewing silk was worth 
$1. The combined spinning of 2300 silk worms was required to produce 
a single pound of silk, and there are approximately 50 miles of silk in 
a silk stocking. 

During the Revolutionary War, the industry was quite abandoned, 
but it was revived soon after, and before 1828 it was entirely a house- 
hold industry. Then a youth of seventeen, Edmond Golding, who under- 
stood silk manufacture, came over from France to Mansfield, Conn. 
Finding no mills in this country he succeeded in showing a group of 
men the simplicity of proper machinei-y. Thus in Mansfield was built 
the first silk mill in Connecticut. 

An historical sidelight is that in 1614 there arose a silk colony in 
Virginia. Charles II, of England, in 1660, wore a coronation robe fash- 
ioned from the silk produced there. 

In 1843-4 a blight attacked the mulberry trees like a pestilence, 
and this profitable farm industry has never been revived. Very few mul- 
beiTy trees are now found in this section. 

JAMES INGALLS-GOODELL TAVERN HOUSE 

Capt. George Ingalls sold the James Ingalls Tavern to Roswell 
Goodell in 1828. Goodell in turn sold the property in 1834 before mi- 
grating to Illinois, when the roads were yet trails through the wilderness. 

On the day of Goodell's departure, his townsmen came to say good- 
bye, and as the loaded ox teams and herds moved westward, it was much 
like a funeral procession that followed him the first few miles. But 
like the true pioneer, he feared no evil although the journey was beset 
with many dangers. The gravest of all was fever, to which he and three 
of his six children had fallen victim by 1849. Many times they must 
have longed for their comfortable New England home. 

By 1841, the James Ingalls homestead had changed ownership three 
times, owned successively by Ford, Abisha Sharpe, and the Wheaton 
Estate, before becoming the property of the Thornton family, who have 
lived there since. 



CHAPTER X 



ABINGTON'S FIRST PHYSICIAN 



Dr. Elisha Lord, as a young man, came to Abington on horseback, 
with his bride riding behind him on a pilHon. He caiTied in his saddle- 
bags the few drixgs and instruments to practice "physic and surgery." 

He purchased on March 3, 1760, of Nathaniel Rogers, housewright, 
who had built for his own bride, the first dwelling on Abington Com- 
mon, a square hip-roofed house. The following is an extract from the 
ancient deed acquired by Dr. Lord— 

"I, Nathaniel Rogers, in ye Colony of Connecticut in New England, 
House Wright, in concideration of the sum of sixty pounds lawful money 
to me in hand and truly paid by Elisha Lord— a certain tract of land 
lying in sd Pomfret, on the north or northwest side of the road leading 
from ye house of Mr. James Ingalls, Inn Holder, in Abington, to ye 
meeting house in sd society, containing a house and three acres of 
measure." 

Miss Osgood further records "the inn and the meeting house indi- 
cate that the location was central, and the road mentioned was Wind- 
ham Road, the main line of travel from Windham to Boston, which 
later became a notable highway. 

The house contained four rooms, seventeen feet square, two on the 
first and two on the second floor. A huge brick chimney with stone 
foundations in the cellar, and a small "porch" as the entrance was 
called, took up the remainder of the house. On the left of the "porch" 
was a kitchen with ample fireplace and brick oven. 

The Lord dwelling stood on the west side of the highway nearly 
opposite the old Abiel Clark Tavern. Here the Lord family lived for 
four generations. The last descendant of the family in this section was 
the Rev. Frank Fuller, many years pastor of Abington Church. 

Soon after his purchase, Dr. Lord built the west rooms with summer- 
trees, corner posts and beams bounding the low ceilings, the corner 
buffet, the window shutters and wainscotted walls on the fireplace side, 
and the stencilled floor, were illustrative of the houses of early period. 
The original kitchen was promoted to the honor of the "keeping room." 

In the one room on the second floor, the hearthstone was imbedded 
in salt as a protection against fire. During the embargo the scarcity of 
salt was a serious grievance, and it was said to have been taken out for 



ABINGTON'S FIRST PHYSICIAN 121 

household use. In rebuilding the chimney the finding of a few lumps 
of salt confirmed the family tradition. 

In 1945 the house owned by Walden Van Haagen burned to the 
ground, the occupants narrowly escaping with their lives. It was re- 
built by Mr. Aristides Raphael as a small cottage, passing by the death 
of Mr. Raphael immediately thereafter to Richard Doran. 

In 1762, with Israel Putnam, Dr. Lord was sent to the General As- 
sembly of Connecticut to represent Pomfret. He filled various offices 
of trust in town and church, and was a charter member of the Medical 
Society. In the quaint phraseology "he was a good inhabitant," and died 
at the age of 77, in 1809, 

His grandson. Deacon Elisha Lord, was a writer, and left us the 
following bit of history of his grandfather's experience during the great 
storms of 1778-80. He says "The facts I am about to relate I had from 
my father who was at that time 20 years old. During the autumn of 
1779, there was a great drouth lasting until early winter, and when the 
storm began to come, it w^as snow instead of rain. Storm followed storm 
in quick succession, until the snow was four feet deep on the level, 
covering up all the walls and fences. Then there was forty days of cold 
weather, so cold that there was not thawing, even in the warmest places. 
When they undertook to open the roads for travel, they encountered 
such obstacles that they gave up the job as hopeless. A constant sheet 
of snow running on the surface made it impossible to open the roads 
and for six weeks there was not travel with horses or oxen. Wood for 
the fire was drawn upon hand sleds with the aid of snowshoes. There 
was no grinding of giain in the mills of Abington. All grain had to be 
drawn on hand sleds to Cargill Mills, on the Quinebaug (Putnam), a 
distance of nine miles. My grandfather was the physician at the time, 
and he visited the sick on his snowshoes, taking a straight line over walls 
and fences to the place he wished to visit. The snowshoes that did service 
that winter are now in my possession. During the terrible winter snow 
was melted for household and farm use, cattle suffering greatly from 
lack of water. The previous autumn, all wells dry, water was hauled 
by Lemuel Ingalls in barrels or ox sleds from Alexander's Lake." 

Dr. John Clark, one of the previous owners of this house, had 
greatly beautified and improved the old Lord homestead. Flowers and 
shrubs graced the garden, and roses lined the walls. 

Dr. Clark has in his possession many deeds once held by Dr. Lord 
on neighboring property. The old doctor probably took much of his 
land for services rendered, and in his time land was an item of barter, 
and changed hands so frequently it is very difficult to trace original 
ownership although it is a fact that in the beginning it was John Ingalls 
in the southwest section, and Thomas Goodell in the northwest section 
of Abington. 



122 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

In the time of Dr. Lord a visit was made in the neighborhood for 
121/^ cents, and out of town for two shilhngs (25c). Of the era an old 
song runs: "He says he will cure you for half you possess. And when 
you are dead he will sue for the rest. In these hard times." 

The name of Capt. Elisha Lord, his eldest son, appears in the first 
record of church music in Abington "In a society meeting in 1785, voted 
that Elisha Lord and Benj. Dana be choristers to set the psalm." He 
lived on what is now the Seifert place, tho the present house there was 
built about 1920, but patterned after the lines of the original. The 
land was once a part of the Goodell holdings. 



ABEL CLARK TAVERN 
OWNED BY MRS. IRENE WARNER BACHAND 

The land on which the Inn stands was sold by Beacham Goodell 
to Ebenezer Craft in 1765, to John Gore of Boston in 1768, and to Abel 
Clark in 1772. 

On May 15, 1775, Abel Clark opened his house as a tavern "be- 
cause of the increase of travel over Windham Road" he deemed it 
necessary, the record goes on to say, "although Ephraim Ingalls has 
kept a tavern directly opposite for many years to the good acceptance 
of the people." 

In 1801, after the death of the Clarks and after various short owner- 
ships, the property was purchased by Judge John Holbrook, grandson 
of Ebenezer Holbrook. pioneer. The tavern days were over, and the 
house became a school for young ladies, primarily for his own daughters, 
taught by a Miss Ramsdell. 

Judge Holbrook tutored many young men to enter the law, and held 
many positions of trust vmtil his death at the age of ninety-three in 1862. 

In the center hall of this large house, once a grand staircase of light 
wood ascended to the great ballroom on the second floor. This room 
was the scene of many gay dancing parties, and meetings of Israel Put- 
nam Lodge, A.F. &: A.M. 

Solomon Gilbert opened a barter and provision store on the north- 
east side of the Common, in the small dwelling just north of the Tav- 
ern house, owned by the late Mrs. Agnes Warner. He also set out beau- 
tiful elms, in 1800, most of which went down in the hurricane of 1938. 

The homestead passed to John K. Holbrook, who sold it to Ed- 
ward Warner in 1875, and it has since remained in the Warner family. 



THE CRAFT FAMILY 

"With the strong arm of English husbandman 
He felled the oake, and turned the virgin soil." 
Lieut. Griffin Craft came from England in 1630, and settled in 



THE CRAFT FAMILY 123 

Roxbury. Lieut. Samuel Craft, his son, was one of the thirty-nine men 
who signed to settle Woodstock in 1686. Samuel was also purchasing 
agent for Thomas Morey, one of the grantees of the Mashamoquet 
Purchase. 

Joseph Craft, a grandson of Samuel, was born in Roxbury in 1684 
or 1694, married Susanna Warner, a granddaughter of Benjamin Sabin, 
also one of the grantees of the Purchase. Joseph bought lands of Dan- 
iel Weld, of Roxbury, west of the Mashamoquet in 1722. He was the 
first settler on the Weld allotment, and soon owned 2000 acres. He was 
active in town affairs, one of the promoters of schools, selectman for 
fifteen years, and was also on the committee to settle county lines. He 
built his home on the sunny slope which faces north and east about one 
half mile west of Abington Cemetery, on the south side of the highway, 
now the site of the home of Arthur Erskine. 

Here Joseph Craft brought his young wife. She lived to the age 
of eighty-three years. It is of interest to follow the fortimes of this real 
colonial family. With her own hands Mrs. Craft clothed her family of 
fifteen children in homespun, and provided for their daily wants by 
open fire and brick oven. She equipped them to ride on horseback over 
rough lanes and bridle paths the five miles to meeting on Pomfret Hill, 
and more than that, she went herself, carrying a babe in her arms, and 
a small child on a pillion behind her. 

There were never enough horses to carry all members of these 
large families to meeting, and it was the custom for father and mother 
to ride, and the older children, if two or three horses were available, 
would ride two on a horse, trotting a mile ahead as the rough roads per- 
mitted. Then the first riders would dismount, and hitch the horses to 
a tree, and walk on while those who had started on foot would "hike" 
ahead until they came up to where the horses were tied. They in turn 
would get on and ride, passing the first group, to another stopping 
place. Thus be relays they made the trip each Sabbath to and from 
the meeting-house. 

A substantial lunch was carried, which in cold weather was eaten in 
the warm "Sabba-day" house. The Sabba-day "noon-house" or "horse- 
hows" was a place of refuge for the half frozen congregation who sought 
the comfort there, before, after and between services on cold, wintry 
days. It was a long stable-like building with a rough chimney in one 
end, where early arrivals built a roaring fire of logs. Before this fire 
they ate their lunch and warmed themselves. The dining place smelled 
"to heaven of horse" for the patient steeds were often sheltered, before 
the building of the horse sheds. From the live coals of the fire in this 
wilderness "life-saving station" the women filled their foot stoves to keep 
them and the little ones warm the rest of the day. The family dog was 
often taken to church to lie in the pew, and keep the family more com- 
fortable by his warmth. 



124 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

Such two long Sabbath Day services were typical of those which the 
sturdy young Crafts attended, but the background of their training 
through such experience, formed in them character upright and honor- 
able. Truly Joseph Craft could exclaim that the Lord had abundantly 
blessed him with fifteen fine sons and daughters. 

Their eldest son, Samuel, was born in 1722. He and his brothers 
and sisters received their education in the "moving school," a few weeks 
at a time in neighboring farmhouses. In his early life he taught school. 
In 1746 he married Judith Payson, whose ancestors had settled on Mash- 
amoquet Brook in 1708. Joseph Craft gave Samuel 69 acres of land, 
where he built a colonial house. In 1752 Samuel Craft gave to the 
church its first communion plates, with the inscription "A gift from 
Samuel Craft." 

Griffin, son of Deacon Samuel, lost his wife by death in the spring 
of 1785. Taking his six children he drove through to CheiTy Valley, 
N.Y. with three hired men and three oxcarts, three teams to a cart, to 
what was to them the Far West. On his arrival, he hired men to cut 
and prepare for burning fifty acres of woodland, in one week. Five years 
later he had 700 acres of clear land, and employed men enough to reap, 
bind, and put in shocks, 100 acres of rye, in one day. 

Another son of Joseph, Benjamin, fought in the French and Indian 
War, and later removed to Vermont, becoming one of the founders of 
Craftsbury, Vermont. 

Joseph, a third son, married Hannah Goodell, and served in the 
Revolution. Elizabeth, their daughter, married Peter Allen. In time 
they lived in the Craft house, and through them the place is identified 
as the Allen Farm. They had two daughters and their four sons served 
in the Revolution, as did several other nephews and grandsons of the 
family. 

Ebenezer Craft was one of the first eleven young men of Pomfret 
to attend Yale, graduating in 1759. It was he who built the Abel Clark 
dwelling, a Revolutionary Tavern, now the home of Mrs. Irene Warner 
Bachand. He raised a company of cavalry, was ordered to Cambridge 
and there remained in service until the British evacuated Boston. He 
was the first Colonel of his regiment. Afterwards he acquired a large 
estate and also founded Leicester Academy in Massachusetts. Later 
he went to Vermont, and acquired a township, six miles square. He died 
in 1810 "beloved, respected and honored by all." 

Another grandson of Capt. Samuel Craft was a "skilled physician" 
in the war, and one became Governor of Vermont. The daughters of 
the family learned to read and write, not a common thing in early times. 



ALLEN FAMILY 

Peter Allen married a daughter of Joseph Craft. For her dowry 
she received land on the north side of the road opposite her girlhood 



CAPT. BENJAMIN RUGGLES 125 

home. The dwelling built there still stands, on land owned by Mr. G. I. 
Booker. This house was undoubtedly built before the Revolution. It 
is situated about one mile west of Abington Four Corners. 

Peter Allen had four sons, all Revolutionary soldiers. One son, 
General Amasa Allen, of the Revolution, settled in Walpole in 1792, 
leaving a large estate. Some of the rare old heirlooms from his home 
are now in the possession of Mrs. Lewis Averill, of Pomfret, a direct 
descendant. 

Major Samuel Allen, a second son, built a mile west of his father's 
home, on land now owned by Frank Paine, at the corner of Route 44 
and a cross road leading to Elliott. 

The Samuel Allen house stood back from the highway, the foun- 
dations still visible. About 1800 the house was destroyed by fire, all but 
the ell, which was moved and the substantial upright now standing was 
built. It is a well preserved colonial house, few changes having been 
made in the interior. It is tradition that at the time of the burning of 
his house, his death was caused by drinking quantities of cold water 
from the well when he was overheated. 



CAPT. BENJAMIN RUGGLES 

Captain Benjamin Ruggles, the first settler on Abington Four Cor- 
ners, was a descendant of Samuel Ruggles, one of the twelve first pro- 
prietors of the Mashamoquet Purchase. His father, Edward Ruggles, 
settled here about 1723, married Hannah Craft. 

Edward Ruggles purchased of his father-in-law 98 acres of swamp 
land for ninety-eight pounds, and built his house on the tableland 
three-fourths of a mile west of Abington Cemetery. 

Three generations by the name of Edward Ruggles had lived at 
this place before it passed to Asa Dennis, ancestor of Col. E. B. Dennis, 
U.S.N., the present owner. According to the town record when the 
first north and south road was surveyed through the settlement, it was 
bounded "easterly on Edward Ruggles— for a King's Highway forever." 

Edward Ruggles, II, born in 1724, was one of the first deacons of 
Abington Church, when it was organized in 1753. Captain Benjamin 
Ruggles and his brother served in the Revolutionary War. A part of 
his land contained the twelve acres of swamp land of his father's ori- 
ginal purchase, which was then highly prized for grass land, and when 
kept mown was not bad hay. His home was on the high land east of 
the swamp. The ell part of the house now owned by Mr. Bert White- 
house was the home of Capt. Benjamin Ruggles. It was to the kitchen 
of this house that the men of Abington came through the mud and rain 
on the March evening in 1793, to form the first Abington Library. 



126 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

ELIJAH GRIGGS-STAGE COACH INN, 
ABINGTON FOUR CORNERS 

About 1800 Capt. Elijah Griggs, a Captain in the War of 1812, 
bought the Benjamin Ruggles place and opened a Stage Coach Inn to 
accommodate travel on the new turnpike just built between Hartford 
and Providence. He built a commodius addition to the house, which 
unfortunately, burned in 1870. 

The property was soon after purchased by Capt. Francis Pellett, 
who rebuilt the upright now standing, and there spent his last days. 
This is the second house north from Abington Store. 

In 1826 a second tavern house was built in Abington Center, as 
the four corners was called. A white brick in one of the two chimneys 
of the old Bolles Tavern, now owned by Mr. and Mrs. Howard Baker, 
is inscribed with the date it was built. Here dinners were served on 
General Training Days, always the first day of May, when hard working 
farmers left their plows and once more put on their epaulets, mounted 
their lively young horses, and capered and pranced before the marching 
companies, greatly to the delight of the youngsters, who also enjoyed 
the long cards of "muster" gingerbread, sold at a penny a card. A 
torchlight barbecue ended the gala holiday. 

SUMNER TAVERN 

The old Sumner tavern-house, situated one mile west of Abington 
Four Corners, long remained a land-mark in the parish. Samuel Sum- 
ner, innkeeper, was a leading man in the early Abington Church. His 
dwelling was a rendezvous for patriots and freemen in Revolutionary 
times, and later when turnpikes were opened, it became a famous stage- 
coach inn. 

The last of the family, George Sumner, died in 1936. The farm 
had been in lineal ownership for over 200 years. The Sumners in early 
times intermarried with the Joseph Craft family, who once owned 2000 
acres west of Abington village. 

ABINGTON & ELLIOTTS — 2 

1. Map — ^P. Sumner. Samuel Sumner Revolutionary Tavern House. Burned 
1946. Members of Sumner family shown. 

2. Map — J. Lyon, owned by S. E. Lyon, Beacon Hill. 

3. Map — Wm. E. Sherman. The Battey Sherman homestead. Before the 1938 
hurricane the pine tree there towered to great height, could be seen for many 
miles. Owned by Mrs. Hazel FUnt. Tower Hill. 

4. Map — Benj. Fay. Hubbard Farm, home of Miss Dorman H. Weaver, in 
Jericho. 

5. Map — J. Griggs. Owned by Oamille Crochiere. 

6. Map — C. Cady. Owned by Mrs. Ethel Carter. A Joseph Ingalls house in 
1749 in Jericho. 

7. Map — Jericho's Second Schoolhouse. Owned by Miss Weaver. 



STOWELL 129 

The tavern-house was divided and moved when the new highway 
Route No. 44 was put through, and in 1945 the larger portion of the 
building, which had been moved to the north side of the road, was 
burned. The small ell, on the south side of the road, burned in 1947. 

STOWELL 

The first we hear of John Stowell (or Stoyell) is as a noted school- 
master in the town of Plainfield, where he kept the only school, in the 
center of the town, in 1717-18. The cost for each child was four pence 
a week, besides public money. He was also a prominent man in Volun- 
town, before coming to the wild and rocky hills of western Pomfret in 
1730. 

He built his home on what is known as Stowell Hill, where is also 
the Sherman place, once marked by a group of pines, visible for miles 
around, before 1938. When the survey for the King's Highway was 
made it passed his house, on Stowell or Allen Hill, north of Abington 
Cemetery. 

When John Stowell came to Pomfret he was engaged in teaching 
a private school in Woodstock, up to 1734, probably the predecessor of 
Woodstock Academy. Larned's History of Windham County gives a 
list of the 69 scholars who attended this school from Nov. 1, 1728 to 
April 1, 1729. Among them are many Pomfret names, such as Chandler, 
Lyons, Sessions and Tucker. 

After that we find no mention of him, but listed among the resi- 
dwellings are gone, and the name is generally forgotten. The land 
Stowell. Descendants of David Stowell left Abington in 1834. Their 
dwellings are gone, and the name is generally forgotten. The land 
passed into the Allen family, and the hill is known as Allen Hill. 

Nathaniel Stowell built his house on the slope to Abington Brook, 
but the dwelling was destroyed by fire about 1845. The present house 
on the same site was built by George Allen, another brother of Major 
Samuel Allen, and is now owned by John Stromberg and Miss Emma 
Allen. Mrs. Stromberg was a daughter of George Allen. 

In 1753 many of the best and bravest sons of Windham County 
emigrated to the valley of the Susquehanna. Among them was Stephen 

ABINGTON and ELLIOTTS 3 

1. Map — Jas. White. Ephraim Ingalls' Pre-Revolutionary Tavern House. 
Owned by Mrs. Dorothy Chamberlain. Left, the Chas. Smith House, also owned 
by her. 

2. Map — Jas. Hutchins. Owned by Siegfried Levy. 

3. Ephraim Ingalls' Tavern before the roof was raised. 

4. Map — J. "Williams. Owned by Oren A. Weeks. 

5. Map — E. Lord. Home of Pomfret's first doctor, Elisha Lord. Owned for 
many years by Dr. John Clark. Burned. 

6. Map — C. Osgood. Owned by Edw. Peal Estate. Birthplace of Mary Os- 
good, 1849-1923, Abington's Historian. 

7. Eliza Fairfield Clark Memorial Center, erected 1947, by Dr. John Clark. 

8. Haven Home and Hospital, established 1920, by Mrs. Susan J. Griggs. 



130 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

Stowell. Col. Dyer of Windham was the promoter in forming the com- 
panies to travel to the then far south west. He praised the charms of 
the Wyoming Valley until a song of the times made this poetic im- 
promptu: 

"Canaan of old, as we are told, where it did rain down Manna, 

Wa'nt half so good for heavenly food, as Dyer makes the Stisquehanna." 

The journey to the new coimtry was made with oxen and sleds, 
woodshod to slide over stones and rough ground, moving the few be- 
longings they needed. But death and the Indian awaited them in the 
fair valley, and many a Windham County home was bereaved in the 
making of new settlements. 

During the French and Indian War, Nathaniel Stowell, Jr. fol- 
lowed the forttmes of Israel Putnam, along with a score of other Pom- 
fret men. Putnam had become a great hero, but the British officers de- 
lighted in calling him the "rough General Wolf." Nathaniel Stowell, 
Jr. also fought in the Revolution, and belonged to the regiment called 
"Washington's forlorn hope." Of Nathaniel, it has been said that his 
cheerfulness and brave spirit did much to keep alive the hope and faith 
of his comrades, when under privation in the war. He returned to spend 
his last days at the ancestral home (Stromberg house). 

Lemuel Stowell, probably a brother of Nathaniel, Jr., was a busi- 
ness man. East of the old homestead he erected a home now owned by 
Oren Weeks, and a tannery, which furnished sheep-hides as early as 
1793 for books in the Abington Library. He also tanned hides for shoes 
for his neighbors. His tannery which stood in the present road-bed by 
the Abington Bridge, was torn down to make room for the road. At 
that time Peck's saw mill stood just opposite, and the tannery received 
its supply of water from a race from Peck's Pond that flooded the land 
where Abington Station now is. The old dam was under the present 
railroad bridge. The Stowells also had a bark mill up the stream where 
there was a second mill pond, on land now owned by Clifford Bowen. 
The millstone from the Peck Mill now covers the well at the home of 
the late Mrs. Constance Allen Stromberg. 

HOLBROOK-SESSIONS-COVELL GRIST MILL 1719-1918 

In 1719 Ebenezer Holbrook purchased of Samuel Gore for four 
hundred dollars the "beautiful triangular farm bordering the Mash- 
amoquet." Some improvements had been made and the dwelling built, 
surrounded by a garden wall, by which still blooms, with each returning 
spring, a mammoth lilac tree, its trunk over three feet in thickness. 

On the favorable millsite just above the present bridge and the 
fording place, Mr. Holbrook established a gristmill and a sawmill, on 
opposite banks of the stream. This was the first gristmill on the Mash- 
amoqtiet, and the second in Pomfret. 



HOLBROOK - SESSIONS - COVELL GRIST MILL 131 

Of the thirteen children born to the Holbrook household, only 
two reached manhood, eleven having died during the epidemic of 
some contagious disease (probably scarlet fever). Later in life Ebenezer 
Holbrook divided his farm and mill privileges between his two sons, 
retiring and building a house for himself (the present Seeley-Brown 
house), where in the fireplace in the keeping room may be seen the 
date of 1749 cut into a brick. 

A leading man in the Pomfret Church, he opposed the dividing 
of the Parish in 1751, "praying they might remain united." 

On April 22, 1775 when the Captain Zebediah Ingalls company 
began its memorable march to Lexington, they rested and received re- 
freshments under the Holbrook elms, still standing in 1947. 

Prior to 1800 the Holbrook farm and mills were sold to the Ses- 
sions family, who for a century maintained an extensive business at the 
old mill site. In 1800 the first town road was laid out to the mill from 
the Joseph Elliott corner. 

The present house was built before 1800 by the son of the miller 
for his bride-to-be, daughter of Deacon Samuel Sumner, of the Sumner 
Inn. According to tradition the young lady objected to living in the 
home of his parents and agreed to the marriage only when he had pro- 
vided her with a new house. Industriously he set about preparing the 
timbers and when the frame was finished they were married, but it 
was a year later before he made any effort to complete the house. But 
as "all's well that ends well" the house when completed was all that 
any bride's heart could desire, for it was furnished with the "setting 
out" given by her father, a complete set of cherry furniture cut from 
the cherry trees on the Sumner farm, and sawed at the Sumner mill on 
Lyons Brook. 

In 1895 the property was purchased by Judge Willis Covell, Pom- 
fret's efficient Tow^n Clerk, who operated the grist mill until 1918, when 
his two sons answered the call of country. The eldest, Herman, enlisted 
in the Army, and added one more Gold Star to Pomfret's Honor Roll. 
Ellsworth, who chose the Navy, was grinding a grist of corn when or- 
ders came to report for examination. The mill was shut down, never 
to start again. The unground corn was left for the wild creatures of the 
wood to enjoy. After two hundied years of service the work of the old 
mill was done. 



CHAPTER XI 



ABINGTON PARISH CHURCH 



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Stain Sui 

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Stairs 



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For many years Abington meeting-house was plain wood colored, 
built to the same dimensions as the first Pomfret Church, forty-eight 
and thirty-nine. In the record book of the first fifty years of the church 
these lines are found: 

"This meetinghouse built in seventeen hundred and fifty one. 

Built in Puritanic plainness and design 

Its beams and rafters true in every line 
Built for the centuries by honest hands." 

The site chosen was in the center of the Parish where the King's 
Highway and Windam Road joined together, following the same road 



ABINGTON COMMON IN 1880. 

1. Map — J. E. Holbrook, built 1760. Abel Clark Tavern, opened 1775. Owned by 
Mrs. Irene W. Bachand. 

2. Solomon Gilbert Store, 1800. Gilbert set out elms seen in pictures. Building 
later used as law office by Judge Holbrook. 

3. Old shop on Common where Lemuel Ingalls repaired swords dxirlng the 
Revolution. 

4. Elliott School House, built 1850. Owned by Harold Cunningham. 



ABINGTON PARISH CHURCH 135 

bed for about one eighth of a mile. The former bore away to the south 
while the Windham Road continued in a southwesterly direction. Ab- 
ington Parish extended north to the Woodstock line. 

The center of the parish was at Capt. Zachariah Goodell's, from 
whom a half acre of land for the church site was bought, for twenty 
pounds old tenor. As the school was under parish rule, a rate was or- 
dered to pay a school master as well as the minister. Thirty-four males 
and twenty females subscribed to the covenant of the new church. In 
January 1751, John and James Ingalls, William Osgood, Daniel Trow- 
bridge and Edward Paine were chosen as a committee for "setting up 
and building and finishing a meeting-house. 

The interior also was patterned after the old Pomfret meeting- 
house. The galleries were on the south, east and west sides with gal- 
ery stairs on the southeast and southwest corners with the high pulpit 
on the north side, with a broad soimding board above it. There are 
east and west doors, and a wide south door opposite the pidpit. 

A wide aisle led through the unfinished interior to the pulpit. At 
first only body seats were provided in the middle of the meeting-house. 
Later pews were built, alloted first to the man who paid the highest 
rate, and the other parishioners contented themselves with such places 
as were left. 

Caleb Grosvenor paid the highest rate, so had first choice for his 
pew. The list of pew owners shows: John Shaw, James Ingalls, Edward 
Paine, John Ingalls, William Osgood, John Sharp, Daniel Trowbridge, 
Captain Goodell, Nathaniel Stowell, Jonathan Dana, Edward Goodell 
and Ebenezer Goodell. It was also voted that the pews could not be 
disposed of unless the owner's land went with it. Thus land was king 
in Abington. The two deacons, Samuel Sumner and Captain Craft, 
sat in state at the foot of the high pulpit, facing the congregation. 

To this cold cheerless church came Mr. David Ripley, graduate of 
Harvard College. He came to his ordination on horseback, as was the 
custom, with his young bride, Betsy Eliot, riding behind him on a pil- 
lion. He was a descendant of Governor Bradford of Plymouth, and Betsy 
a daughter of Jacob Eliot, of Lebanon. 

ELLIOTTS 

1. Map — Elijah Griggs. Owned by Harold Cunningham, Cattle Dealer. 

2. Map — Elijah Griggs. Was home of Horace Bennett. Owned by Leonard 
Roine. 

3. Map — Rufus Fay. Owned by Ernest Rowley. 

4. Map — S. Clark. The Gould-Newton House, a true pioneer dwelling. When 
electric wires were put in, plank patterns were found to be hatched marked, to 
hold plaster, no lath used. Newspaper pasted to walls was printed in old style 
f and s. Owned by C. E. Harriman. 

5. Map — J. Davis. Home of the late Miss Draeger. Owned by Ruth Cunneen. 

6. Map — F. B. Pellett. Owned by Geo. Brown. 

7. Map — W. Gould. Owned by Dr. John Clark. 

8. Map— S. Allen. Owned by Frank Paine, built 1800. 



136 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

FIRST MINISTERS OF ABINGTON PARISH 

The ordination was held Feb. 21, 1753. An ordination supper was 
served with all the good things known to New England cooks, at the 
home of William Osgood. We are told that the "services were decently 
and solemnly carried on," which was not always the way at ordinations 
in that day, for strange as it may seem the Puritans sometimes turned 
their ordinations into days of revelry. 

Rev. David Ripley's salary was 60 pounds a year, the money to be 
equal to wheat at 40 shillings, rye 30 shillings, Indian corn 30 shillings, 
oats 10 shillings a bushel, pork at 2 shillings and beef 16 pence a pound. 
He bought land of Caleb Dana— 59 acres for 1000 Spanish milled dollars, 
on "May 27 in ye 27 year of his Majesties reign, George the second," 
and that same year he built his house. Mrs. Ripley brought slaves with 
her from her girlhood home. There is a record of a negro baby, Jenny, 
born in the Ripley household on Jan. 15, 1788. Mr. Ripley taught and 
fitted young men for college in his home. There long stood a fine old 
elm that he and Wm. Osgood, Jr. set out in the year the house was 
built, a monarch among elms. It withstood the storms of nearly two 
hundred years. 

For seventy-five years the congregation worshipped in this unheated 
church, where infants were brought for baptism on the first Sabbath 
after birth, while the parents waited anxiously to note whether the in- 
fant showed its natural inheritance of Puritan fortitude by enduring 
the ordinance without wailing. It is now on record that the Rev. Rip- 
ley baptized 495 children during his 25 years of pastorate. 

In 1840 the old square pews, also the high pulpit that had been 
given by Abel Lyon, which had cost a hundred dollars, was removed, 
and the interior was rearranged in the popular manner of the period. 
That is, with the medium high pulpit on the west end between the two 
stoves, and a choir loft on the east. The seats faced the minister and the 
entrances. The west end was extended, and the present turret took 
the place of the belfry. A spacious vestibule and two large doors were 
built. The galleries and the two rows of small windows on the east side 
were replaced by three long windows. While the outside of the build- 
ing has remained unchanged since then, the interior arrangement was 
again turned around in 1869, with the pulpit on the east and the choir 
on the west. A furnace was installed in 1900. 

In making repairs on the tuiret tower of the steeple in 1938, the 
crown of ornamentation, which is claimed to represent the twelve dis- 
ciples, was not replaced, but will be replaced. It is claimed also that 
this crown represented the four gates of Jerusalem. Happily remaining 
uninjured in the hurricane of 1938 was the oval window in the front of 
the church. This, according to tradition, represents order, balance and 
stability. One other window of this type is found in the Congregational 
Church of Marlboro, Massachusetts. 



FIRST MINISTERS OF ABINGTON PARISH 137 

Fires were considered unsafe in the meeting-house as late as 1801, 
when in Norwich a sexton could collect a quarter of a dollar fine if a 
foot stove was left in the church. Rev. Walter Lyon, unlike many min- 
isters of his time, had been thoughtful of the comfort of his people dur- 
ing the winter, and held only one short service on Sunday, with a silk 
handkerchief wrapped around his head. He left a generous bequest 
to the Abington Society, including the land where the present Parsonage 
stands. 

Many changes took place during his pastorate. The meeting-house 
was "colored" white in 1764. In 1774 a singer was chosen to "set the 
'sams." In 1785 Dr. Elisha Lord and Benjamin Dana were chosen 
choristers and the choir went into the gallery to sing the psalms. At that 
time a big bass viol was brought into the choir, which the foes of viols 
declared was "only a fiddle played upside down." We are not told 
what Mr. Lyon thought about the introduction of instrumental music 
into the church. Some ministers were much opposed, and we read of 
one divine, who when giving out the psalms, said "Now we will fiddle 
and sing the 45th Psalm." In 1802 Samuel Sumner presented the parish 
with a bell (which is still used) and the belfry was built. 

Lectures, concerts, meetings in behalf of temperance, anti-slavery, 
education and peace have been held here, doing much to influence the 
character of many young people who went out into wider fields, and 
the world has been made a better place because of the "order, balance 
and stability" of this little church, built where the King's Highway met 
the Windham Road. 

The earliest record of a marriage in Abington is 1753, performed 
by the Rev. David Ripley. 

Mr. Ripley remained pastor until his health failed, and he passed 
away on Sept. 2, 1785, at the age of 55 years, his life in Abington having 
been spent at the home he built, now considered one of the oldest houses 
in Abington, owned by Mr. James Willits. The original paneling and 
architecture of the house is still unchanged. 

Rev. Walter Lyon, second pastor, was ordained in January 1783. 
He was the son of Capt. Benjamin Lyon of Woodstock, of Revolutionary 
fame. He giaduated from Yale in 1777, and married Mary Huntington 
of Lebanon. Having bought land of the Goodells he built his house 
20 rods south of the meeting-house. This dwelling also stands, a sub- 
stantial building of colonial design, owned by the Charles Griggs es- 
tate. Rev. Lyon died in 1826. His life had been devoted to all public 
interests. He was one of the first school visitors, to catechize the schol- 
ars, and give prizes to the one who could commit the catechism to mem- 
ory. He also tutored young men for college. 

Rev. Lyon was a man of precise habits, and his clock and desk 
throughout his life stood on the spot where he first placed them, and 
his family left them there as long as they remained in Abington. 



138 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

His only son, Samuel, opened a store opposite his father's house 
where he did business for many years. It stood a little south of the old 
mile-stone, now the site of Everett Griggs' gas station. 

Pomfret was settled sixty-six years after the landing of the Pil- 
grims, and it is believed that Governor Saltonstall bestowed the names 
Pornfret and Killingly, in sentiment for his English home. Among his 
English possessions in Yorkshire he owned the Manor of Killingly, 
near Pontefract (Pomfret). 

The name of Abington was given by the General Assembly in 1749. 
It was an ecclesiastical name for the ancient town of Abbotsford, Eng- 
land, on the Thames, later changed to Abington. The English Abing- 
ton was about fifty miles from London, and this Abington is about fifty 
miles from New London, Connecticut. 

This is the first church in the state to celebrate its one hundred 
fiftieth anniversary in the original edifice in 1901. 

The hurricane of 1938 not only damaged the steeple of the church, 
but unroofed the parsonage. Both have since been repaired. 

The pipe organ from the old Episcopal Chapel was donated to Ab- 
ington Church by Henry Howard Rich, and was dedicated Oct. 15, 1939, 
the dedication sermon being preached by the Rev. Sherrod Soule, of 
Hartford, a native son of Hampton. 

In 1791 Parish Rule included the schools at Ragged Hill, the one 
on the southern end of Old Abington Common (Newton's Corner) and 
at Abington Four Corners, called the Center School. 

Each district in the Parish was allowed four months school a year. 
The schoolmaster received forty shillings a month (^5.00) and boarded 
himself, yet many Abington young men were glad to teach during the 
winter. 

Young Samuel Sumner taught for $6 per month, thrashed evenings, 
and worked in his father's saw mill. He was noted for his penmanship. 

Schools kept 6 days a week with two half Saturdays a month. The 
old school house was heated by a fireplace, had a stone chimney. The 
fires were built by a boy for 25c and all the ashes at the end of the term. 
From the sale of the ashes he realized an extra 25c. Each child was as- 
sessed a certain quantity of fuel, and if it was not furnished the child 
could not attend school. 

The fire was possibly the only cheerful thing in the low studded, 
smoke-stained room, with its rows of hard benches arranged around 
the wall. The children sat with their backs to the teacher while study- 
ing. Seldom was there more than one arithmetic textbook in the school, 
and usually no writing books, the teacher having to set a copy for each 
child. The spelling book and catechism were the more common school- 
books. In summer a "dame" taught the little folks, her education being 
usually sufficient to teach sewing and the A B C in samplers. 

The Center School in 1847 was replaced by a new building, con- 
sidered "large and commodious." 



ABINGTON FOUR CORNERS 139 

A new patent stove that had mysterious cold air fines was set up, 
the pride of the district. The old school had faced east and west, and 
the new one north and south. This building was turned around in 
1900 and became the present primary room, to which an addition was 
built to provide for otlier grades. 

In 1839, with the Norwich and Worcester R.R. completed, mail 
no longer was left at the tavern to be looked over at will by the public, 
but was brought to small established Post Offices by stage wagons from 
Dayville. 

The Bolles Tavern House was purchased by the Misses Sarah and 
Mary Howard of Hampton, artistic ladies of the Episcopalian faith, who 
built a neat chapel on Abington Four Corners. Furnishings and bell 
were donated from the old Episcopal Church on Pomfret Street, at the 
time the new edifice was built in 1881. The Bolles-Howard property, 
built in 1800, is now owned by Mr. and Mrs. Howard Baker. The chapel, 
moved during the road construction of 1941, now stands in the rear of 
the tavern house. 

Just west of the chapel also stood an old dwelling house, built by 
Peter Allen, primarily for a grocery store. Here he kept the first post 
office, and lived over the store. Old account books of Peter Allen's 
store and post office are now in the possession of Mr. Everett Griggs. 

From these accounts we note that few letters and papers were re- 
ceived daily, as is shown by the following record, under date of May 9, 
1840— mail received that day was "1 letter to Andrew Dresser from Scot- 
land, Ct. he paid 6 cents. Mrs. I. Griggs, 2 papers, 2 cents. That is all 
the mail that came to this office." Postage on letters and papers were 
paid for when received. Papers were 1 cent and letters from 6c to 25c, 
from Michigan, Ohio or Indiana. Record of this early office is from 
1839 to 1841. 

Strange as it may seem, charge accounts for mail were carried by 
some of the best people, as one of these accounts show — "Charles P. 
Grosvenor, Dr. received 6 letters and 10 papers between July 2 and Sept. 
17, 1840, and paid the postage, 82c, Oct. 2." It was considered a breach 
of etiquette to pay postage in advance. Only business letters were pre- 
paid. 



ABINGTON FOUR CORNERS 

The second Abington store was owned by the widow of Solomon 
Sumner, owner of the cider mill on the brook, she having followed Peter 
Allen in the grocery business by 1856. 

Perhaps the best remembered of storekeepers at the corner was 
Randolph L. Bullard, in the 1880's. A typical Yankee trader, who bar- 
tered and traded with the people for miles around. On Monday morn- 
ings the road at the corner was full of teams, bringing produce in season, 



140 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

and dressed veal, chickens, geese, ducks, turkeys and pork. The store 
did not sell fresh meat locally, but took the farmers' produce, gave them 
goods in return, and later carried their products to Providence. He 
also handled eggs, butter, cheese and whortleberries. 

A hustler, he was off on the first train for market. The older gen- 
eration still recall his checking a dressed hog on his ticket to Providence, 
the agent putting the check in the porker's ear, and shipping it as bag- 
gage. 

His store would hardly have passed the requirements of the pure 
food law of today. Crackers and sugar barrels stood about, while on 
top of the loose covers sat the villagers at night, smoking and gossiping 
the evenings away. 

Bullard was also the village fiddler, and played merry tunes at the 
village dances. He practised "Scotch bowing" and "Calling Off" at the 
same time. His orchestra was famed beyond his home town, even to 
Providence and the "beaches." 

An able second fiddler was Edward Gosvenor, a veteran of the Civil 
War, whose home was at Hamlet Farm. 

The story is told of a simple minded man who broke into the store 
and stole a pair of boots and a plug of tobacco. When the Judge asked 
him why he did not take something else, he replied, "Everything was 
marked so high, he could not make day wages selling them," 

Abington school house before the 1938 huiTicane, was shaded by 
beautiful trees set out in 1855, when the grounds had been leveled and 
posts set for a double rail fence to support an arbor vitae hedge around 
the grounds. The Scotch larches, balsam firs, and spruce were grown 
at the Charles Osgood nurseries, the McLaughlin farm. The hedges 
long ago gave way to highway improvement. 

Abington school house was discontinued as a school house in 1948, 
when the children started school in the new Community School. The 
building reverted to the land and was donated as a whole to the Pom- 
fret Fire Company by Mr. John Stromberg and Miss Emma Allen. 

Between the school and the present highway was the Dresser store, 
which burned in 1845. 

Survey of the Hartford and Providence turnpike was a major event 
in the lives of the school children. The driver of the gaily painted stage 
coaches driven by four horses was looked upon as a man of as much im- 
portance as the Governor. 

Great droves of sheep and cattle were driven over this road to Prov- 
idence and Hartford market, as well as patient oxen with loads of wood 
and charcoal from Ashford. 



WOLF DEN GRANGE NO. 61 

Wolf Den Grange No. 61 was organized in February 1887, with 33 
charter members, 13 women and 20 men. First officers were: Master, 



ABINGTON LIBRARY 141 

Charles O. Thompson; Overseer, Albert Averill; Lecturer, James N. 
Botham; Steward, Joseph Stoddard; Chaplain, Frank O. Davis; Treas., 
Edwin T. White; Secretary, Wm. Fay; Gate Keeper, Chas. K. Peal; 
Pomona, Mrs. Chas. Smith; Flora, Mrs. Albert Smith; Ceres, Lavinia 
Dixon; Lady Asst. Steward, Annie Arnold. 

Other members were: Mrs. Edwin White, Luther Day, Mrs. M. A. 
Day, Albert Smith, Charles Smith, John Osgood, E. P. Moffitt, Mrs. E. P. 
Moffitt, Mrs. Mary Elliott, Mrs. Alice Fay, Herbert Marshall, Mrs. H, C. 
Marshall, Harvey Whitmore, Mrs. Harvey Whitmore, Charles Arnold, 
Clement Sharpe, Mrs. C. A. Sharpe, Mrs. J. N. Botham, T. S. Hamilton, 
Fred Hyde and Thomas O. Elliott. 

First meetings were held in Pomfret Town Hall before 1913 when 
the hall built in 1888 by Reuben Weeks and Harvey Whitmore was 
purchased. Here R. L. Bullard held many of his famous dances, with 
Guerdon Cady of Central Village, promptor. 

Wolf Den Grange, Incorporated in 1933, has at the present time 
(1949) 249 members. 

ABINGTON LIBRARY 

The Abington Library was established in 1793. The officers ap- 
pointed were: Rev. Walter Lyon, Librarian; Thomas Grosvenor, Col- 
lector; Lemuel Ingalls, Clerk; Committee, Zachariah Osgood, William 
Sharp and Samuel Sumner. The rules for taking out books were: a folio 
of not more than 600 pages could be kept out four months; a large oc- 
tave of not more than 300 pages could be retained three months; a small 
octave of 200 pages could not be kept more than a month. The Library 
was opened in May. Reading material consisted of one hundred volumes, 
mainly theological and philosophical works. Newspapers were few, and 
books were expensive. In early years the books were kept in Rev. Walter 
Lyons Home. Later, in a Dwelling House on Abington four corners until 
the present Libiary was erected. 

A Social Ladies' Library, organized in 1813, merged in 1875 with 
the Abington United Library under the name of the "Social Library 
Association." This association is the oldest Library still active, organized 
by women in the state of Connecticut. In 1884 forty-three women of the 
association were still living. 

This Library was established 50 years before higher education was 
available to women. The Board of Lady Managers of the Columbian 
Exposition (1892) placed a copy of this library constitution on exhibit. 

TOLL-GATE HOUSE IN ABINGTON 

There were two old toll-gate houses still standing in Pomfret on 
what was the Providence and Hartford Turnpike. One is on Route 101, 
the other one mile west of Abington, just west of the site of the old 
Sumner Tavern. This small one story house with a low lean-to was long 



142 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

known as the Atwood place. It was purchased some years ago by Mr. 
Chester Badger, and enlarged, but shows on the west side the outline of 
the low sloping roof of the original building. It is now owned by Mr. 
Godfrey Zizka. 



FROG ROCK 

The last piece of historical interest before reaching Phoenixville on 
Route 44, is Frog Rock, in early times called "Half-way Rock," being 
half way between Abington and Ashford. 

In the time of religious agitation, 1745-1800, the Separates and 
others held open-air meetings at the Frog Rock, using it as a pulpit. 
Descendants of some of the old families look with disfavor on the gro- 
tesque transformation of the rock into a glorified bull-frog, because of 
its historic background. 



THE FAY FAMILY (HUBBARD FARM) 

The Aaron Fay homestead (the present home of Ernest Rowley) 
has sheltered five generations of the Fay family. Here Benjamin Fay 
was born. In 1814 he went with his bride to live at the top of the hill 
above Marcy Hollow, at the present home of Mr. Fred Hillmann of 
the "Hillside" gas station. The house had been built by William Fields 
who owned the Hollow grist mill in 1792, and after Benjamin Fay it 
was for two generations in the James Botham family. 

In 1824 Benjamin Fay acquired of Mr. Sharp in Jericho the Hub- 
bard Farm where for many years he carried on saw, shingle, cider and 
grist mills, and developed the water power of the brook that flows 
through the farm. The millstones being worn, he employed a man, one 

JERICHO SECTION 

1. Map — Chapman. Owned by Alex Paukku. Was summer home of Misses 
Florence and Sarah Henry. 

2. Map — Job Nye. Owned by Lawrence Swazey. Was summer home of 
Miss Goff of New York. 

3. Map — ^Sl Sharp. Restored by the late Mrs. Elizabeth Gray Swain. Owned 
by Gray Estate. 

5. Map — Jericho Pond. Owned by Silas Baker. 

6. Map — ^Hammond. Owned by Mrs. C. C. Gardner. There is a site of an 
ancient mill privilege on the brook. House is of early architecture, unusual 
cellar stairs of split logs. 

7. Map — R. Sharp. First Sharp homestead on King's Highway. 1722. Owned 
by Misses Page and Blair. 

8. Map — Cady. Summer home of Miss Homans for 40 years. Present owner 
P. Toomey. 





^1 .1 II 




THE FAY FAMILY (Hubbard Farm) 145 

winter, to cut new millstones from the ledges back of the house, for 
which the man received eighty dollars and board. One of the old mill- 
stones was placed over the well, with the sweep in front of the house. 

In the seventies, the old Fay mill closed; the millstones were sold 
to the Sessions Mills (the Willis Covell place) and were in use until 
1918. 

This was the pioneer homestead of Daniel Draper. Between 1775 
and 1824 the property changed hands six times, being owned success- 
ively by Nathaniel Draper, Peter Ingalls, William Elliott, Clark Elliott, 
Augustus Arnold, and Mr. Sharp. 

The old Jericho schoolhouse, built on this Fay homestead land, had 
for a century an enrollment of over fifty scholars. This property is now 
known as the "Hubbard farm." It is owned by Miss Dorman Weaver, 
who has restored it to its original simplicity, making it a lovely summer 
home. The cider mill has been restored, and its thatched roof and water 
wheel give it a romantic setting. 

The old Aaron Fay homestead on the sightly knoll adjoining the 
Elliott school is the home of Mrs. Ethel Fay Rowley, daughter of the 
late William Fay, veteran station agent of Abington, who rounded out 
twenty-eight years of service before his death at the age of eighty-two 
in 1938. 



ELLIOTTS STATION 

1. Map — Ira Elliott. Thomas ElLLott homestead in 1880. Present owner John 
Smutnick. Some of Elliott family shown. 

2. Old Elliott Depot. In doorway, Alfred Weeks. 

3. Martin's Store. Burned in 1891. 

4. Map — Spaulding. Home of the late Mrs. Cynthia Johnson family. Burned 
in 1946. See Joseph Ingalls. 



CHAPTER XII 



SAMUEL DRESSER HOUSE 

The Samuel Dresser house, now owned by H. M. Cook, was origi- 
nally the Horace Sabin place. In 1835 it was purchased by Samuel 
Dresser who, besides having an interest in the grist mill, carried on a 
shoe shop in 1840, as well as a broom making business. Those were the 
days when men who had passed middle life opened small shops and "did 
well," and laid the corner stone to future large industries for their chil- 
dren and grandchildren. 



ACADIAN CHILDREN BROUGHT TO POMFRET 

The children of Pomfret read the beautiful poem of Evangeline and 
feel a deep compassion, but few know that here in Pomfret, Killingly, 
and neighboring towns, these poor Acadian refugees, who were evicted 
from their happy homes by order of the Governor to Colonel Winslow, 
and scattered over the colonies, were cared for, too. But these were 
days, in 1755, when strong religious prejudices prevailed, and, since 
the wanderers were not of the same faith, it is not likely that even our 
own forefathers gave them welcome. As Longfellow says: 

"Friendless, homeless, hopeless, they wandered from city to city 
From the cold lakes of the north to the sultry southern savannahs 
From the bleak shores of the sea to the lands where the Father of 

Water 
Seized the hills in his hands, and drags them down to the ocean. 
Friends they sought, and homes, and many despairing, heartbroken. 
Asked of the earth but a grave, and no longer a friend or a fireside." 
Mr. Frank Haines of Putnam, formerly an owner of the Dresser 
house, has some valuable papers, among which we find an order received 
by the selectmen of Pomfret to care for a quota of Acadian refugees, 
consisting of a man and three children. 

The following is a copy of the ancient document received when the 
four refugees were assigned to the town: 

"Dated, Norwich June 26, 1756, 
"Gentlemen: Pursuant to the Assembly, I send you Guillam Bougois 
and three children. Fore of the French people sent into the Colony from 
Nova Scotia. They being the people assigned by the committee for that 
purpose. 

Signed by order 
Jbz Huntington" 



MARCY FAMILY 147 

This is written on a folded yellow sheet of old linen paper, on the 
back of which we find written "To the Selectmen of Pomfrest. French 
of Nova Scotia." 

This rare paper came into the possession of Mr. Haines when he 
purchased the house. Mr. Samuel Dresser, a fomier owner, was a de- 
scendant of Jonathan Dresser, who was one of Pomfret's selectmen in 
1756. For a hundred and fifty years the records of that day were kept 
by the Dresser family until given to Mr. Haines by Mrs. Albert Smith. 



MARCY FAMILY 

7 hree generations of the Marcy family have kept the anvil ringing 
in Marcy Hollow. Grandfather Orin Marcy built his first shop near 
the grist mill on the Mashamoquet in 1818. His son Alvin and three 
grandsons have continued the ancestral trade. Willard Marcy worked 
at the old site for thirty-six years. This old shop is replaced by a new 
one, which might well be styled a blacksmith's antique shop, as it has 
a fine collection of hand wrought tools, horse and ox shoes, and other 
relics of a century ago. 

On the Marcy lot in the Abington burying ground we find a gray 
granite stone, on which is mounted the anvil that three generations 
of the family had used— an unusual but exemplary memorial. 

When Grandfather Orin Marcy opened his shop in 1818 the woolen 
mill had been set up in the little valley. Grandmother Marcy worked 
in this mill before her marriage, for the sum of fourteen cents a day 
(and did not think of striking). Fourteen cents a day would buy many 
things dear to the feminine heart. Her shoes were made from the hides 
of the animals that had helped also to replenish the larder. The tallow 
supplied her candles. Her clothing was made from flax and wool raised 
on the fanii. Her "hope chest" was filled with linen and blankets of her 
own weaving, and the little dwelling that she lived in near the shop was 
built with the nails her husband had forged. Also, the door latches 
and hinges, and the household bean porridge pots and other cooking 
utensils, such as "spiders and kettles that stood on long legs over the 
coals" were his handiwork. The problem of high wages did not bother 
him. In the words of the poet: 

"Something accomplished, something done 
Had earned a night's repose." 

His grandson, Darius (1865-1916), followed the trade, and on his 
grandfather's anvil made, for the World's Fair in 1892, a case of horse- 
shoes that were awarded first prize, a plated horse-shoe pin. 

Grandmother Marcy used to tell her children that when she worked 
in the mill the girls would climb the steep hillside and drink from a cold 
spring at the noon hour. The location of this spring was lost for many 
years, but was finally discovered by the late Charles Arnold who owned 



148 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

the present home of WiUiam Smedley, now State property. This is be- 
lieved to have been the Stebbins home. The spring was found to be 
walled in and a fine source of water, akhough it had been covered by 
the hillside wash for about a century. It is now piped into the valley 
for the use of the State Park. 

The home of Willard E. Marcy was once owned by Oliver Ingalls 
(son of Captain Zebediah Ingalls of Bunker Hill fame) who was acci- 
dentally drowned in the Mashamoquet on April 10, 1815. Heavy rains 
had swollen the stream to overflowing; the night was very dark, and, 
returning from Abington store, Mr, Ingalls missed the road and fell into 
the stream above the dam. He owned a fine Newfoundland dog that 
was in the house with Mrs. Ingalls. Suddenly the dog leaped to the 
doors and windows, barking wildly, but was not released. In the morn- 
ing Mr. Ingalls' body was found in the stream. Laura Ingalls, the noted 
aviatrix, who is said to have been the first woman to fly over the Andes 
(1933), is a descendant of Oliver Ingalls. 

Stebbinsville had been an industrial center from the beginning 
of the settlement. In 1719 Ebenezer Holbrook purchased a four hun- 
dred acre tract for four hundred dollars. After building a saw and grist 
mill at the old mill site (now owned by Judge Willis Covell), he built 
a linseed oil mill at the hollow. The property was purchased by Robert 
Baxter in 1780. He changed it to a grist mill and also built a turning 
mill, which later became a wagon shop. These old buildings burned 
in 1900. 

After the mills became the property of William Bray ton in 1818, 
Marcy Hollow was among the prettiest spots in Pomfret. In the early 
days of automobile-tourists the settlement on the Mashamoquet at- 
tracted much attention from the lovers of the picturesque. The mill 
that for generations had served the neighborhood, the old dam, a bit 
of smooth lawn about the cottage of William Brayton and his sister 
Mary— these will long be remembered. Happily, postcards with views 
made before the burning of the mills are still in existence. 

Pomfret owes a debt of gratitude to Miss Sarah Fay. In 1900 she 
bought a tract which is now included in the State Park in order to save 
the beautiful hemlocks from the lumberman's axe. These hemlocks fell 
in the hurricane of 1938. 

Gone is the Brayton cottage, the mill he built, and the dam; but 
the stream flows on, through banks eroded and torn by the freshet of 
1936, down to a swimming pool made by the State for the youngsters. 
Thousands visit Mashamoquet and enjoy the Park, but few know the 
history of the stream or its romances and tragedies. 

Stebbinsville, as Marcy Hollow was called, was named for one 
Erastus Stebbins, who, in 1817, bought the woolen mill built in 1812. 
Men, women, and children were employed; only hand-power was used. 

Stebbins developed the water privilege down in the present State 
Park, where traces of the old mill-race are still visible. Besides his woolen 
mill he opened a grocery store, on the present site of Thaddeus LeFort's 



MARCY FAMILY 149 

house. Ten years later his business passed into the hands of creditors. 
The mills burned in 1836. The enterprise of the little hamlet required 
a school, known as the factory school. It stood on the top of the hill 
west of the Mashamoquet. Recent development of the State Road has 
completely obliterated the site of the old schoolhouse. 

After the Stebbins Mill at Marcy Hollow burned, a society of Ad- 
ventists bought the old store building and remodeled it into a meeting- 
house or tabernacle. It was a plain unpainted building. Like all new 
sects in their day they were not always appreciated in their zeal, and a 
wag wrote: 

"They bought a store in Stebbinsville 
And built a barn upon the hill 
To bate the horses when they come 
To the second church in Abington." 

This first tabernacle later burned. 

In 1865 the Adventist following built a new church near Abington's 
third railroad bridge, on Joseph Baxter's land (now the Cleo Carter 
place). This was later moved and made into a dwelling, now owned by 
Oren Weeks. 

For a century the Baxters of Stebbinsville were among the leading 
families. In 1780 they acquired the mills of Job Olney, who had pur- 
chased them of Holbrook the previous year. The turning shop built bv 
Samuel Baxter in 1848 utilized the water power of the brook near the 
present railroad bridge on the Stoddard, or Carter, place. 

From 1856 Joseph Baxter lived on the farm, and was accustomed 
to take a load of pork or other produce to Boston with oxen, walking 
the entire distance of more than seventy miles, and returning with a 
load of fish. In cold weather he used to complain bitterly of the cold 
across Boston Common. 

Under the leadership of Brother Hezekiah Davis, the Advent Church 
grew rapidly, and the little church became too small for them. A third 
house of worship was built in 1873, just east of Abington Depot, on 
Route 44. The land was leased from George Williams for $15 for ninety- 
nine years. This is now the site of the Haven Hospital. 

For years the Advent Chapel was empty and neglected. The prop- 
erty on w^hich the chapel stood, passed from George Williams to George 
A. Dresser, then through Mr. Dresser's daughter, Mrs. Fred Smith, to 
Edward Peal, for $25.00. Mr. Peal used it for a butcher shop until 
1913, when it was sold to Joseph Elliott for $75.00 to be remodeled into 
a dwelling. In 1923 it was again sold, to Mr. and Mrs. Alfred G. Griggs, 
who modernized and improved it for a home for elderly people. In 
1928-9, fine new large buildings were erected by a true philanthropist, 
Mrs. T. Morris Murray, of Gwyn Careg, Pomfret, and Boston, and The 
Haven became a Chronic and Convalescent Hospital, as well as a home 
for the aged. The old chapel was taken down to make room for new 
buildings. 



150 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

The land on which the Haven stands was once part of the William 
Osgood Purchase in 1748, and until the last owner, had been contin- 
uously in the hands of descendants of the Osgood family. 



OSGOOD-ELLIOTT HOMESTEAD 

In 1810 William Osgood, also a descendant of the first settler, pur- 
chased the Abijah Sharpe property in Elliott, then Jericho. His daugh- 
ter, Susanna, married Ira Elliott, who purchased the farm in 1852, and 
built the fine old house now standing. Mr. Elliott was largely instru- 
mental in securing the construction of the New York, New Haven and 
Hartford Railroad through town. He also gave the site for the Elliott 
station, now closed. A son, Thomas Osgood Elliott, a Civil War Vet- 
eran, inherited the property and entered the lumber business with Wil- 
liam Ingalls, pioneers in the industry in the seventies, operating the 
first portable saw and lumber camps in Windham County. This home- 
stead, "Pioneer Acres," is now owned by John and Paul Smutnick. John 
Smutnick is a World War Veteran, and ex-postmaster of Abington. 

Rebecca, daughter of William Osgood, married James Congdon, 
and their home was the Leon Albro farm, being divided in half in the 
construction of the N.Y., N.H. & H. R.R., inducing Mr. Congdon to 
sell his farm and remove to Hampton, where for many years he was a 
leading citizen. 

The crossing, known as Frawley's crossing, was altered in state road 
construction in 1940. In 1934 this place was the scene of the tragic death 
of Mrs. Irving Hopkins and a companion, of Hampton. 



OSGOOD FAMILY HOMESTEAD-GWYN CAREG 

William Osgood came to Abington in 1748. He became one of the 
leading men in the formation of the parish and the building of the 
meeting-house. The ordination dinner was served at his house. 

His lands extended from the brook at Abington Depot to the Mash- 
amoquet State Park, and south to Elliott. The Osgood homestead was 
built about 1760, remaining in the Osgood name for over a century, 
until the marriage of Elizabeth Osgood to Louis Ingalls. 

Deacon Winthrop Osgood, born on this estate in 1775, built the 
fine old homestead known as the Joseph Elliott place, in 1800. His old 
straight-backed chair stands again in the Abington church, presented 
to the parish by his granddaughter, Miss Mary Osgood, in 1923. He 
disliked the hard plank seats in the straight-backed pews, and preferred 
to sit in his own chair with his back to the outside wall. 

In connection with his farming he set out a large nursery, and sup- 
plied the town with many beautiful shade trees. 



MISS MARY OSGOOD - ABINGTON HISTORIAN 151 

Mrs. T. Morris Murray (Miss Elinor Clark), granddaughter of Dr. 
Vinton, is a direct descendant of Samuel Stone, who with Thomas 
Hooker, made the dangerous journey through the wilderness from Bos- 
ton to Hartford in May 16.86. The Samuel Stone home was in the 
shadow of the Charter Oak in Hartford. 

Mrs. Murray's home, Gwyn Careg, in Abington, was long a show 
place. It was the site of the pioneer home of William Osgood. 



MISS MARY OSGOOD-ABINGTON HISTORIAN, 1839-1923 

"God gave men all earth to love 
And yet, because our hearts were small. 
Ordained that just one place 
Should be the most beloved of all." 

Miss Osgood was born at the Edward Peal farmstead in Abington 
in 1839. As a child she listened to the folklore told by the fireside of 
her father, Charles Osgood, and as a woman she spent much time in 
research and writing. She was a woman of fine intellect, a graduate of 
Gushing Academy and a teacher in the High Schools. Her brother, 
Charles Osgood, was sheriff of the county for several years. 

Her last days were spent at the Haven Home and Hospital in her 
beloved Abington. She passed away in 1923, leaving her unpublished 
writings to the Superintendent and author, Mrs. Susan J. Griggs. 



CHAPTER XIII 



THE SHARPE FAMILY 1722 
Wm. Sharpe House, now owned by Misses Page and Blair. 

William Sharpe, with his bride, Abigail VV^hite, settled in Jericho 
at the foot of Easter Hill, in 1722, coming about the time of the In- 
galls family. They built their home on the grassy lane that was then 
the trail of the King's Highway, a secluded spot for a pioneer home. 

Their oldest child, John, is said to have been the first white child 
born in Jericho. As a youth he was active in the famous Wolf Hunt, 
in the winter of 1742-3. He was the first to discover the tracks of the 
she-wolf leading to the den in the rugged hillside. As a man he settled 
in northern Abington on the farmstead now owned and occupied by 
James Sharpe, of the seventh generation, whose two sons carry down 
the family name. The present dwelling was built in 1848, although a 
part of the original house still stands, as a woodshed, for which purpose 
the pioneer houses were eventually used. 

For generations the Sharpes built their homes on the inherited 
acres of their pioneer ancestor. One of the dwellings remaining is the 
present home of Mrs. Gray, on High Ridge Road. All the original 
lines of his house have been restored. The peace and qtuet of the cen- 
tury seem to cling about the place. A deeply wooded ravine and rapid 
brook add scenic beauty to the spot, tho greatly marred by the hurri- 
cane of 1938. This place was shown on the map as that of S. Sharpe. 

Jericho was not to escape in early days its share of tragedy. Kindly 
Mr. and Mrs. Reuben Sharpe lived in a sunny nook on the King's High- 
way. They were childless, but opened their homes to orphans. A little 
nephew, five year old Oliver, had become a household pet, causing 
seventeen year old Caleb Adams, a boy of adoption, to become very 
jealous. In the family's absence he murdered the child, for which crime 
he was executed on November 20, 1803, at a public execution, attended 
by thousands, the boy being compelled to attend his own funeral before 
the execution. 

"Wayback," the summer home of the Misses Natalie and Sarah 
Homans, of Washington and Pomfret, stands about a quarter mile back 
from the road on the Hampton-Pomfret line, not far from the Cady- 
Grow Cemetery, the oldest in southwestern Pomfret. The Grows lived 
just over the Hampton line, and their lands adjoined. This section 
in Jericho was near the old trail that was later the King's Highway. 

This is a remarkable old house, having kept its old lines, and being 
probably originally a "half house," rare in Pomfret. The "half house" 



HUTCHINS - SHARPE HOMESTEADS 153 

was often built on Cape Cod by young people, then added to as they 
needed more room. The enormous stone chimney, first built on the 
end, would then be in the middle. 

The addition to the house was built by the Misses Romans, and 
the massive timbers of the old house have been restored. The house 
was sold in 1948 to Philip A. Toomey. 

The Misses Homans are direct descendants of William Williams, 
brother of Rev. Ebenezer Williams, who early settled on Bush Hill. 
Miss Sarah Homans still owns a cottage at Wayback, and will return 
there summers. 

The Sharpe family is one of the few families still resident in Abing- 
ton. Carl M. Sharpe, Representative 1937-40, and State Treasurer 1943, 
was a lifetime resident of the town. He also had two sons, Carl and 
Clement, to perpetuate the name. As son of Clement and Phoebe Peal 
Hutchins Sharpe, his boyhood was spent at the Sharpe homestead on 
the Mashamoquet. He died in 1948 while holding the office of Com- 
missioner of Public Utilities. Mr. Sharpe was, as his ancestors, a leader 
in church and public affairs. His wife, Mrs. Edna Butler Sharpe, was 
sent as Representative from Pomfret in 1948. 

During the Tercentenary Celebration of Connecticut in 1935, Put- 
nam staged a beautiful pageant in which Pomfret took a leading part. 
Miss Beatrice Sharpe, his daughter, impersonating Columbia, being 
not only a direct descendant of the first settler, but also of General 
Israel Putnam. 



THE HUTCHINS-SHARPE HOMESTEADS 

Dr. Darius Hutchins, early nineteenth century physician, built 
the commodius dwelling which still stands on the corner of the old 
trail (then the King's Highway) and Windham Road (Route 97). 

Dr. Hutchins was interested in the reform movement through the 
Abington Peace and Temperance Societies and Anti-Slavery movements. 

On the death of his only daughter, Lucy Ann, in 1834, he desired 
to erect a monument to her memory. He had it cut from native stone 
and hauled with several yoke of oxen to the newly acquired Abington 
burying ground. This single shaft of native granite, about ten feet high, 
stands in the cemetery foreground. At that time monuments were 
rare, coming from Providence by ox teams. A stone quarry was being 
worked at the Cat-Den Ledges in Eastford, where stone posts for fences 
and for hitching horses w^ere cut. 

Dr. Hutchins died in 1839. His son, Dr. James Hutchins, who suc- 
ceeded him in his Abington practice, manied Miss Phoebe Peal, whose 
father, Mr. John Peal, had purchased the old Hutchins homestead in 
1869. This house remained in the Peal family for half a century and 
Dr. James Hutchins resided at the Ripley house (now owned by Mr. 
James Willits) until his death in 1900. 



154 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

His son, James Howard Hutchins, Abington's well known veterinary 
surgeon, with his sister, Miss Adrianna, resides at the old Sharpe home 
which was the home of their mother after her second marriage (to 
Clement Sharpe). 



SHARPE HOME ON THE MASHAMOQUET 1820 

This is one of the finest homesteads in Pomfret, now owned by Dr. 
James and Miss Adrianna Hutchins. It stands on a sightly knoll, over- 
looking the Mashamoquet, where history and tradition weave a thread 
of interest. For here was the site of the first sawmill, and one of the 
first schoolhouses, also the first "substanchel" cart bridge over the 
brook. For a quarter century, it had been the boundary line between 
the little settlement and the almost unbroken wilderness, since the road 
came to an end at the mill. Not before 1723 had the road been built 
farther on, and finally connected Windham Village (Hampton Hill) 
with Pomfret. 

Here was the home of Mary Putnam Waldo, great granddaughter 
of our own Israel Putnam, who adds a bit of color to the usual drab 
history of pioneer women. In her early youth she married a Mr. Phil- 
lips, and leaving her home on Pomfret Street, emigrated with him to 
the wilds of Illinois; when trackless forests lay between there and Con- 
necticut. Her husband was accidentally killed soon after they had 
become established in their home, leaving her alone; she made her 
way back to her native state with two small children. Upon her re- 
turn she married George H. Sharpe about 1850, and there at the 
homestead saw many happy and prosperous years. Her grandchildren 
delight in recalling many of the thrilling tales she told of her ex- 
perience in the "far west." George Sharpe was the son of Abijah 
Sharpe, of Elliott. 

From Abijah Sharpe we trace the decided musical ability of the 
family, as we find in 1811 he was excused from paying his assessment 
for the meeting-house repairs "providing he teach singing school two 
sessions a week, through the seasons." The family is said to have owned 
the first piano in town. 



GRIGGS FAMILY 

The Griggs family descended from Dr. George and Benjamin 
Griggs, pioneers of Woodstock. Nathan Griggs (1751) was active in 
establishing Abington Parish. Four homesteads remain in Abington that 
were built by his descendants. 



GRIGGS - PELLETT FARM 155 

The George Drown homestead, bulk by Capt. Francis Pellett (1836), 
who married Sally Griggs, stands near the pioneer site of the Nathan 
Griggs hearthstone. Capt. Francis was a descendant of Richard Pellett, 
who settled in Canterbury in 1702. The Jessie Griggs place is now owned 
by Camille Crochiere. The late Horace Bennett place was the boyhood 
home of Abijah Griggs of the French and Indian War, builder of the 
fine farmstead now owned by Fred Cunningham, cattle dealer. The 
house is of the architecture of 1730-60. Here Abijah Griggs boarded the 
town poor when they were bid off to the lowest bidder. Then Dr. Lord, 
by giving them medical attention, was exempted from taxation. 

The only lineal descendant of the family now living in Abington 
is Everett Griggs, archaeologist (Priest Lyon house). The home of the 
late Alfred Griggs, still owned by his family, was built in 1804 by Daniel 
Smith, of the Craft-Allen family. 

An outstanding character in pre-Civil War days was Schoolmaster 
John Griggs. In the sixty years that he taught, he is credited with 
3000 scholars, among them General Lyon of Eastford. His home was 
next to the old Pilfershire schoolhouse in Eastford, on the Cat Den 
Ledge Road. According to tradition, Pilfershire received its name from 
a pilfering class of people that settled there in early times. It is claimed 
they kept no sheep or poultry yet their tables were always supplied 
with meat. As their only source of supply was the neighboring farms, 
there was a question about where their meat came from, yet they were 
seldom detected. This has been a deserted region until recently taken 
over by the State Forestry Dept., who have restored the old roads for 
fire lanes, converting them into beautiful woodland drives. 



GRIGGS-PELLETT FARM, NOW OWNED BY GEO. DROWN 

In pre-Civil War times, the Francis Pellett place was one of the 
best farms in the town, having had the first large barn, which was 
struck by lightning and burned many years ago. Typical of the per- 
iod, all labor was done by a large force of men and ox-teams. Great 
pride was taken in orchards, now broken and twisted by the century's 
storms. Droves of hogs once destroyed the larva of pests that now ruin 
the apple crops. Fine loads of fruit were yearly delivered at Providence 
with four-ox teams, the trip made by night, arriving at the market at 
noon the next day. Apples were exchanged for barrels of flour, sugar, 
molasses and bales of codfish. Aside from the tea, coffee and spices the 
farm supplied the farmer's needs. Soap was still made by the house- 
wife from scraps and fats, and home-made lye, a product of the hard 
wood ash barrel mounted on the circular grooved "lye stone," indis- 
pensable in home soap making. 

The kitchen ell of the Griggs-Pellett-Drown house is very old, dating 
back to the early settlement of the town. The farm was a part of the 



156 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

Nathan Griggs tract, 175 L The upright part of the house was built 
by Capt. Francis Pellett in 1836. The large tract of swail land on the 
farm attracted early settlement. In the horse car period many farmers 
bailed the grass from the swail and marketed it for bedding for horses. 

Wetherbee Pastmes, in Elliott, purchased by John Wetherbee in 
1913, is the site of the home of the Daniel Fitts family, and is named 
on the map as N. Aldrich. On this farm is the 1 acre fenced-in lot 
which was given by a previous owner to a young man named Loomis 
so that he might become a voter in the town, a legal requirement at 
that time. 



POMFRET EASTFORD LINE 

In the western part of Pomfret are the highest elevations, as Pis- 
gah Hill, 868 feet above sea level; Tower Hill, 826 feet; and Utley Hill, 
748 feet; location of Pomfret's second beacon light. 

Tower Hill, for over a century and a half, was Sherman Hill, David 
Sherman settling there in 1750. Four generations followed him in con- 
tinual ownership, covering a period of over 182 years. William Batty 
Sherman, last of the family, born in 1846, died in 1929. The property 
is now owned by Francis Duquette. The growth of beautiful fir balsam 
trees near the Sherman homestead were visible for many miles before 
the hurricane of 1938. 

The old homesteads of David and Andrew Trowbridge are now 
owned by Frank West and Edward Geer. 

Utley Hill was named for Stephen, who in 1777 was appointed one 
of a committee of Abington men to procure clothing for the soldiers. 
This farmstead was long owned by Harvey Whitmore, who built the 
present house after the Civil War. 



CHAPTER XIV 
BRIGADIER-GENERAL NATHANIEL LYON 




Nathaniel Lyon was born in Eastford in July 1819. His father, 
a magistrate of the town, owned and cultivated a rocky farm on the 
range of hills about four miles from Phoenixville, in the 1830's. 

Nathaniel later recalled the rocky hills in his birthplace,— the night 
before he fell in battle— when his regiment was encamped in a very 
rocky terrain. Preparing to make his bed between two rocks, he re- 
marked that he had been "born between two rocks." 

The red salt box house, on the old Hampton Road, rebuilt through 
the State Forest in the 1930's, has gone, but the stone chimney, with 
fireplaces restored, still marks the site, and is used for open air cooking 
by picnickers and campers in the Natchaug State Forest. 

The character of Nathaniel Lyon is revealed by his devotion to 
his mother, who was a descendant of Col. Thomas Knowlton, Ashford's 
Revolutionary hero. As a boy, he attended the little Pilfershire school, 
where he excelled in mathematics, studying under Schoolmaster John 
Griggs. 

In 1837, at the age of 18. he entered West Point, and was graduated 
in 1841, and commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the 2nd U.S. Cav- 
alry. After serving in the Seminole War, in Florida, he was transferred 
to posts on the western front, also fought in the Mexican War, where 



158 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

he was promoted to Captain. He was stationed in Kansas, before the 
outbreak of the Civil War, at the height of the political trouble and 
border ruffian days. 

Lyon took a great interest in Lincoln's political campaign, and 
wrote many political articles which are given us in his biogiaphy. 
These writings are valuable, as he wrote not as an historian but as a 
man of the times, and portrays a clear insight of the problems which 
led up to the outbreak of hostilities. He depicted Abraham Lincoln, 
not as the Great Emancipator, but as a labor leader. Free Labor against 
Slave Labor, the cry of the West in 1861. 

Nathaniel Lyon never married; it is said that he did not believe 
a soldier should be burdened with a family. 

In 1861, he was stationed with a small company of troops to guard 
the gold of the sub-treasury and arms stored at the Federal Arsenal at 
St, Louis. At that time Missouri's Governor was Claiborne Jackson, a 
proslavery man, and a great friend of Jefferson Davis. Lyon became 
suspicious when the Governor ordered an encampment of 600 militia- 
men, and of large boxes being shipped up-river to Camp Jackson, marked 
"marble." Disguising himself in a black bombazine skirt, his red 
whiskers under a heavy veil, he drove about the town with a negro 
coachman and verified his suspicions that the boxes of "marble" were 
arms. Quickly Lyon raised 10,000 Federal Volunteers as Home Guards, 
and marched upon the Camp on May 10th, and demanded an uncon- 
ditional surrender, which was accomplished without a shot being fired. 

Lyon was promoted to the rank of General, and his strategy marked 
the beginning of a campaign to save Missouri and Kentucky for the 
Union. The historian, John Fiske, said of this military move by Lyon 
"It was the first really aggressive blow at the secession that was struck 
anywhere in the United States." 

Three months from the day of the surrender of Camp Jackson at 
St. Louis, Gen. Lyon was killed at Wilson Creek, Missouri, on Aug. 10, 
at the age of 42 years. Temporarily his body was interred near the 
battlefield, and later shipped by train and boat to his native Eastford, 
stopping en route to lay in state at St. Louis, Cincinnati, and Philadel- 
phia. When the body arrived at New York on Sept. 2, it was met by 
great crowds, where it again lay in state. It was next removed to Hart- 
ford. The ovation by the citizens of Hartford was tremendous, the mili- 
tary and others, contesting in demonstration of respect for the dead, 
and of hospitality to the escort while the bier lay in state at the Capitol. 

The special train, draped in mourning, brought Gen. Lyon's body 
and military escort from Hartford, leaving there "about one o'clock, 
arriving at Willimantic about quarter past three o'clock." Crowds were 
at the depot, including people from thirty miles around, who assembled 
to honor their hero. Flags large and small, draped with black borders, 
were suspended from houses and trees. It was after four o'clock before 
the cortege moved out of Willimantic, on the last sixteen miles of the 



POMFRET IN 1863 159 

journey. First came the military, then the Missourian escort, followed 
by the hearse drawn by four black horses, brought from Hartford. 

Next came an immense number of conveyances, carrying relatives 
of the deceased, and citizens. Hundreds of wagons from a single horse 
buggy to the ctmibrous market wagon drawn by four horses, formed the 
procession. The road was lined with people, young and old, and all 
houses along the way were draped with flags. The tolling of all church 
bells added to the solemnity of the occasion. 

The road from Willimantic was hilly, yet not impassable; the pro- 
cession reached Eastford about nine o'clock. As it entered the village 
a six pounder on a hill "pealed forth minute salutes," while the bell 
of Eastford church tolled. 

The road entering Eastford was lined on either side with trees. 
Lights, candles, lanterns, rushes, and every conceivable material il- 
luminated the path, while the band played the "Dead March of Saul." 
The remains were placed on a bier in the Congregational Church, on 
an eminence west of the road by which the cortege entered the village, 
but was reached by a circuitous route, in order that the people could 
see the torchlight procession. 

Thus with pomp and ceremony General Lyon was buried in the 
small btnying ground at Phoenixville, near the schoolhouse, on the 
old road now little traveled. 

While to the memory of lesser men, large monuments have been 
erected in city parks, there is no marker by the highway to proclaim 
to the world that a national hero, Nathaniel Lyon, is buried here. 



POMFRET IN 1863 

A glimpse of Pomfret Street in 1863 is given us by the Pomfret 
correspondent to The Windham County Transcript of Thursday, Nov. 
12. Referring to Pomfret St. as "Pucker St." he writes of improvements 
being made along the street as follows: "Old shanties are tumbling 
down— and handsome edifices rise upon their ruins. Ancient residents 
are improving their quiet homes and newcomers are purchasing the 
quaint old dwellings and queer shops which for a century have blocked 
out famous street, and intend to build up the wastes next season, in more 
modern style of architecture." Among these newcomers was Benjamin 
Harris, Esq., a man who did much to build up Pomfret Street, and at 
one time owned the present Rectory School, and the Ben Grosvenor 
Revolutionary Inn. 

Our correspondent also writes "We are unanimously expecting that 
the R.R. through here to New York . . . will be completed before the 
close of the war. . .The depot for Pomfret and Woodstock, it is thought 
will be somewhere near the barn of Lucius Fitts (General Carlson 
place) on the line between Pomfret and Woodstock." From this article 



160 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

it would seem that there had been high hopes that the Railroad which 
was built through Abington and Pomfret Center, would be built on 
the Pomfret-Woodstock line. The writer goes on to tell us that it was 
expected that a large town or city would grow up in that section. 

Controversy had already begiui over the probable name of the new 
town, each town wanting the honor. A wag suggested it should be called 
Woodfret, Pomfstock, or Pumpstock, as it will be a place to water the 
"iron horse." Pomfret had suggested a macadam road built from Pomfret 
Street through "Cork Street" (Route 93). 

The same paper states that all able-bodied men having gone to war 
"they had no fear of the next draft, or call for volunteers." 



POMFRET IN 1950 

Pomfret in 1950 is the same beautiful town, not through its fine 
estates of 1900, but in the manner in which its homes are kept. Small 
houses have taken the place of many of the large estates. 

Agriculture is mainly in large dairy farms, where through modern 
machinery, stone walls have been moved and broad fields made fit 
for tractor use. There are very few horse teams left in town. Poultry 
raising is conducted on a large scale. 

Ben Grosvenor Inn and Pomfret Inn serve the traveling public. 

Pomfret has an Independent Fire Company with fire engines sta- 
tioned at Abington Four Corners and on Pomfret Street. There are 
four state roads through town, and 37 miles of new surfaced road have 
been built in the past 15 years. Pomfret is "fast getting out of the mud." 

The Community School, built in 1947-48, with bus transportation 
for the children, fills a long felt need, as does the Eliza Fairfield Clark 
Memorial Center, established in 1947 by Dr. John Clark, in memory 
of his wife. Dr. Bruce Valentine is in charge. 

Pomfret has a voting list of 1001, and an enrollment of public 
school children of 340. In the last census Pomfret had 1710 people. 

In World War I Pomfret sent 102 men and women, and in World 
War II, 185. 

Pomfret has no industries, but many still work in Hartford, as 
during the war. 

There are four churches. Catholic, Rev. O. N. Mandler; Episcopal, 
Rev. R. H. Parkes; and two Congregational, Rev. Geo. H. Johnson and 
Rev. C. K. Tracy. 

There are four groceries, owned by Hattin and Zeller, Geo. Potvin, 
Paul Hyland, David Planchon; and five garages, owned by Raymond 
Cutler, Henry Rondeau, Russell Hillmann, Walter Green and David 
Planchon. 

Four passenger trains stop daily at Pomfret Station, and one at 
Abington. 



POMFRET'S NATIVITY PLAY 161 

Pomfret in 1810 had a population of 1905. "There were 280 Free- 
men or Electors, and about the same number of dwellings." There 
were 2 entire companies of Infantry, Rifle, Cavalry and Artillery, in 
the militia. 

Taxable property, including polls was $55,077. 

There were 4 churches, 2 Congregational, 1 Baptist and 1 Society 
of Friends. Pomfret Street had 30 dwellings, a Post Office, church and 
several stores. 

Enterprises were agriculture, a cotton factory "extensive scale," a 
woolen factory, 3 fulling mills, cloth works, 2 carding machines, 3 dis- 
tilleries, 4 grain mills and 6 tanneries. There were several shad fisheries 
on the Quinebaug. 

There were 1 1 school districts, and several turnpike roads. 

In 1850 there was a population of 1848. 



POMFRET'S NATIVITY PLAY 

Pomfret is widely known for its beautiful annual Nativity Play, 
which was originated in 1912, with costumes and production supervised 
by the late Miss Beatrice Stevens, an artist of note, and Miss Ella M. 
Boult, of Pomfret Street. 

Many of the early cast are still taking part. The play was first pr*" 
duced in the old Pomfret Hall, too small to accommodate the crowd o 
that it was necessary to produce it three times in one evening. Since 1936 
it has been given in the Hard Auditorium at Pomfret School, but at 
Christmas 1949 the Nativity was enacted in the auditorium of the new 
Pomfret Community School. 



ABINGTON MEETING HOUSE 

The beginning of the new half century finds the interior of the 
Old Abington Meeting House recently decorated in soft pastel colors, 
pews painted colonial white with mahogany trim, and a new heating 
plant installed, largely through the efforts of the Women's Guild. 

Through the untiring efforts of the minister. Rev. Charles Tracy, 
plans are going forward for a new Sunday School chapel, and improve- 
ments on the grounds, looking toward the 200th anniversary in 1951. 

A fine new sign has been erected, which reads "Abington Meeting 
House, Erected 1751, Oldest Now Standing in Connecticut." 




POMFRET CENTER and POMFRET LANDING 

1. Map — M. Wetherill. Owned by Arthur Youngs. (Town Records — Patience 
Benson bought land in Pomfret in 1777. In the Benson Cemetery, near the 
Youngs' home, are marble slabs marking the graves of Rev. John Benson, 
1818, his wife Marcy, 1835, and daughter Betsey Benson Angell, 1816. The 
Benson lands were sold to J. Wetherill in 1831. Wetherill sold land to Youngs in 
1879, and to Fisher in 1873.) 

2. Map— S. W. Hammond. Owned by Mrs. R. E. Angell. At left, map — 
Cholar. Owned by J. Cropsey. 

3. Map — J. Cooper. Owned by Mrs. J. Thale. 

4. Map — M. Hammond. Owned by J. Kearney. 



POMFRET LANDING STORE AND POST OFFICE 

Stood between the Bridge and Old Mill 




Burned in 1895 

Left to right: 

Charles Williams 
Judson Hyde 
George Feeter 



FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

of Hampton and Vicinity 




Map — Mrs. Bowers. The House the Women Built. Where Sarah Hammond 
Mosley spent her long life and was found dead the day her application for a 
Revolutionary War widow's pension was granted. 



"Folklore and Firesides of Hampton and Vicinity" was printed in 1941 
by Linton Clark, of Abington, but owing to shortage of paper and other 
restrictions of World War H, publication of the Pomfret section of this book 
was delayed until this time. 




NEW HAMPTON COMMUNITY SCHOOL 

1950 

Opened with 70 scholars 




LITTLE RIVER GRANGE HALL 

1906 



FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

of Hampton and Vicinity 



CHAPTER I 
THE JOSHUA TRACT 

JOSHUA, third son of Uncas, gave by will the lands 
that became the town of Windham, to sixteen gentle- 
men of Norwich and neighboring towns. This tract 
was surveyed in May 1678 by Surveyor Richard Bush- 
nell. It lay north of Mamosqueage (Lisbon) which 
lands Joshua had reserved for his children. 

Bushnell led his surveying party up the old Indian 
trail known as the NipmuckPath, to the tract specified 
in Joshua's will. The southern bounds followed the Nip- 
muck Path to the "wet flag meadows a little north of 
the path." This meadow the Indians called Appaquage. 
Here the surveyors lodged for the night, and next morn- 
ing crossed through the woods ten miles to the Willi- 
mantic river. Soon after, another survey was made "to 
measure down eight miles from Appaquage, by the said 
Nipmuck Path ... to a marked white oak at the end 
of said eight miles, on the west side of the path." This 
tract is finally described as "a tract of land lying to the 
west of Appaquage, east from the Willimantic River, 
south from Appaquage Pond, eight miles broad." 

Our beautiful town of Hampton is the northeastern 
section of the original township of Windham. Appa- 
quage School District is still the boundary line between 
Hampton and Pomfret. The "wet flag meadow" and 
"Appaquage Pond" now belong to the John Lewis farm. 



2 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

WINDHAM 

Windham was first called "The Hither-Place." John 
Gates, the first settler, was a refugee from the English 
Crown. In the trackless wilderness in 1688 he and his 
negro servant lived in a cave before the coming of the 
first settlers who laid out their village west of the pres- 
ent Windham Green the following year. He then came 
out of hiding and became a respected citizen. 

To the new town of Windham, Norwich gave freely 
of her sons who for more than a decade were content to 
remain in the fertile valleys of the Willimantic and 
Natchaug rivers. In 1708-9 a new settlement was be- 
gun in the northeast section of Windham by four 
Salem families, David Canada, William Shaw, Robert 
Moulton, and Edward Colburn. 

Windham laid out a road through the "burnt cedar 
swamp" (Scotland) to the Nipmuck Trail that led to 
this settlement. 

CANADA — LOOKING BACKWARD 

Daniel, father of David Canada, like many of his 
time, considered that an "old settled community" like 
Salem in Massachusetts was becoming too crowded for 
the best interests of his six children, followed the emi- 
gration then moving into the new settlements of Con- 
necticut. When Daniel arrived in Canterbury in 1709 
the fertile valleys of the Quinebaug had been taken by 
the notorious land grabbers, James Fitch, Richard Bush- 
nell, and the Tracys "by the Quinebaug or wheresoever 
it lay, and all for a song and a trifle," so that there was 
"nothing left but poor rocky hills and hungry lands such 



THE CANADAS 3 

as no wise man under Heaven would have ventured to 
settle upon." 

Beyond these rocky hills was the Appaquage or Lit- 
tle River running parallel to the Quinebaug. The land 
between these rivers Canterbury claimed by right of 
purchase from Owaneco, second son of Uncas, but 
Windham had overstept the bounds of her first survey 
— which was bounded east by the Nipmuck Trail — and 
had taken a wide strip of Canterbury east of Little 
River to the old Westminster road, which then was a 
bridle path known as "the way to Woodstock and Nor- 
wich." By 1709 a few settlers were building homesteads 
near the "way," but Canada chose to push two miles 
farther into the wilderness, into the disputed tract 
claimed by Windham, and there bought one hundred 
acres of William More, then of Windham, but formerly 
of Norwich. Canada's purchase lay on both sides of 
Little River and was bounded by the Nipmuck Path 
which ran a httle west of south following the west side 
of the river through Bigelow section of town. 

There he built a dwelling evidently not for himself 
but for his two sons, Isaac and David, and daughter, 
Hannah, who were eager for adventure in the wild new 
country. Hannah, the eldest, was born Sept. 4, 1685; 
Isaac, January 21, 1687; and David, born July 7, 1693, 
was then a lad of sixteen. In a deep ravine a short dis- 
tance from the site chosen for the dwelling is a never 
failing spring of water. Today the only trace of the 
dwelling is a tumbled down chimney and a medium 
size cellar hole. 

Since the first habitation must needs have been of 
logs, and as the process of clearing the lands meant se- 
curing the timbers for a substantial building, one was 



4 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

undoubtedly built within the first decade. Benjamin 
Howard, a step-son of William More, (from whom the 
Canadas bought their lands), had sectled two miles 
south on Little River, also in 1709, and had there built 
the first sawmill in the new settlement, at the site still 
known as Skinner's Mills. The Nipmuck Path that 
passed a half mile west of Canada's homestead pro- 
vided a convenient ''way" to the mill in the valley that 
still bears the name of Howard. 

Three other families soon joined the Canadas in the 
wilderness; they were Edward Colburn, Robert Moul- 
ton, and William Shaw, all of Salem. The Moultons 
appear to have settled on the Frank Poliski homestead, 
and the Colburns further east. An interesting bit of 
history is handed down of the outcome of the long dis- 
pute over the lands between Little River and the old 
road between the towns of Canterbury and W^indham. 
A new dispute arose between the towns and was carried 
on for years over who should care for Robert Colburn, 
son of the pioneer, who lived on land claimed by both 
towns, and on which Windham had collected all the 
taxes. Robert became demented after the death of his 
father, and was a town charge. He had married Han- 
nah Canada in 1726, then a spinster of forty years. In 
1754 Windham relinquished claim to much of the dis- 
puted territory, and the line was set at the present 
boundary, Canterbury having accepted the charge of 
Colburn. Thus we find that care of the poor was a 
great problem even at that early date. 

William Shaw also settled on both sides of Little 
River, his land lying back of the old Holt and Litch- 
field farms. He was the grandfather of the ill-fated 
Elizabeth Shaw who was accused of leaving her new- 



THE CANADAS 5 

born infant to perish under the Cowantic Ledges in 
1745, and was executed in Windham on Thanksgiving 
Day of that year. In the Windham Town Records we 
find a land transfer made by Shaw to Nath'l Farnum 
in 1737. The old cellar of this Shaw-Farnum dwelHng 
remains, not far from the Litchfield burying ground 
which contains many Farnum stones. This dwelling 
was reached by a lane still existing between the Holt 
and Litchfield farms. William Farnum removed to 
what is given on present maps as Shaw Hill, where 
Elizabeth Shaw lived. The cellar of this dwelling may 
yet be found near Wolf Brook on land now owned by 
Elmer C. Jewett of Clark's Corners. 

Of Isaac Canada we know little except that his 
name appears on the church records, and that he fought 
in the Indian Wars. 

Of David, we know more. On November 5, 1718 he 
married Margaret Lambert, and to them were born six 
children: Sarah, October 13, 1720, Hannah, March 30, 
1723; EHzabeth, June 4, 1726; David, March 28, 1728; 
Daniel, June 19, 1730; and John, November 18, 1732. 
According to the record given, David died the day his 
son, John, was born; he was forty years old. In that 
bleak November over two hunderd years ago he was 
laid to rest on the sunny slope of the hill a few rods 
north of his dwelling. His widow, Margaret Lambert 
Canada, later married Nathaniel Phillips, who was born 
in Watertown, Massachusetts, May 2, 1703, the son of 
Jonathan and Sarah Holland Phillips. 

David Canada was a respected citizen. His was the 
first plank house built in Hampton, and the first public 
house of entertainment. He was appointed surveyor 
for the first highways. His name does not appear on 



6 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

the church records, although his wife's does when it was 
formed in 1723. Three years after he came into the 
wilderness other men from Salem, Andover, and Chel- 
sea, Massachusetts followed to be his neighbors, and 
in the vernacular of the times they named the settle- 
ment "Kennedy" in honor of David Canada, and the 
eminence where they began their settlement they called 
Chelsea hill. 

Although his death was untimely David Canada 
lived through a very active period of Hampton history. 
There were then two inns in the parish, one kept by 
Martha Fuller, widow of Thomas Fuller, and the other 
by Nathaniel Hovey. The road known as Windham 
Road had been opened and brought much travel 
through the settlement en route to old Windham and 
Norwich. A store had been opened by Benjamin Bid- 
lack where home-spun and farm produce could be ex- 
changed for West India goods which were brought into 
the region either with ox-sleds or in barrels swung be- 
tween two poles and dragged behind a horse. He had 
seen the old trails widen into unbridged "tote" roads 
so rough and impassable that it took a whole day to 
travel a few miles, which is the reason we find his 
lonely grave on the hillside near his home, although the 
old burying ground on Cedar Swamp Brook had been 
laid out at that date. 

David Canada, Jr. as man settled in the western 
part of Hampton. His name can be found on the early 
Hampton records. We find John, the youngest, born on 
the day his father died, living in Westminster where, 
according to town records, he sold a portion of the late 
David Canada's estate to William Farnum, probably a 
descendant of the Nathaniel Farnum aforementioned. 



THE CANADAS 7 

In 1772 this land was acquired by Ebenezer Jewett, the 
Revolutionary ancestor of the Jewett and Pearl fami- 
lies. The old brick homestead of Ebenezer Jewett on 
the Brooklyn road has long been known as the Evans 
place. 

The name of one David Canada, probably the son 
of David the pioneer, appears on the early town records 
of 1786. His home was in the western part of the town, 
on the road to the Nachaug schoolhouse, which was then 
in Hampton. The following epitaphs found in a Mans- 
field cemetery would indicate that this branch of the 
family attended church in Mansfield, which then in- 
cluded the present town of Chaplin: 

In Memory of 

Mrs. Ruan (?) Canada 

Who died December 29, 1819 

Aged 88. 

And also a second stone: 

In memory of Mr. Daniel Canada 

Who died February 26, 1819 

hj the 82 year of 

his age. 

Another valuable bit of information is related by 
Hampton's fourth pastor, Rev. Daniel G. Sprague, who 
was installed in the church in 1824. "Hampton was in- 
corporated as a town in 1786. It was mostly formed 
from the Second Society of Windham, which was formed 
as a society in 1720, and was called 'Kennedy* or Wind- 
ham village. The place appears to have been named 



8 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

for a Mr. Kennedy, who with his family were the first 
settlers in the society. They located themselves about 
two miles south of the Congregational Church. It is 
believed that the first settlers (in the society) came into 
this town in 1708." 

The following concerning Hampton's early history 
is taken from unpublished papers of William L. Weaver 
(i860), historian and genealogist: ^* Windham was incor- 
porated in 1703, which was the beginning of Church 
and State*. Mansfield Society was set off in 1820- . . . 
In 1721 another society was set off in the northeast 
quarter of the settlement and the name of ^Kennedy* 
was given it, by reason of a family of Kennedys which 
resided in the section. The new society was near *Ap- 
paquogue ponde' or the northestern boundary of the 
tract granted by Joshua's will, and was variously called 
^Kennedy' or*Windham Village', and became at last the 
town of Hampton." 

According to Weaver, who wrote the genealogies of 
the early Windham families, the Canadys (the true pro- 
nunciation) were early settlers of Rowley, Massachu- 
setts in 1671. Their names are found in Early Settlers 
of Rowley y Massachusetts ^ and is often spelled Canada, 
Canady, Candia, and Kennedy. 



The Legends below refer to the following 8a 

pages of pictures. 



**• HAMPTON HILL 

1. Congregational Church, built 1753. Then the great doors opened south. Pul- 
pit on north, pews faced pulpit. In 1768 church was painted yellow, and pews 
turned around, as now. East entrance made 1796. Bell was presented to the church 
by Col Ebenezer Mosley, and steeple was raised. The fact that the "seets were 
turned rownd" no doubt adds to supposition that the "building had been turned 
around". 

The old Mosley house is seen at the head of the "Great Street", shaded by a 
beautiful weeping elm. 

2. Map — H. G. Taintor & Co. Hotel. Present owner Mrs. Ellsworth Davis. 
Chelsea Inn derived its name from Chelsea Hill, as Hampton Hill was called in 
early times. The broad common between the Inn and the Church was where 
"Peter's Spies" were forced to run the gauntlet, in 1774. 

3. Map — S. S. Mosley. Built by 2nd minister, Rev. Mosley 1734-1791. Owned 
by Mrs. FYieda Angellott. 

4. Map — S. Tiffany Store. Owned by Mrs. Arthur Pitts. 

5. Map — Owned by Miss Genevieve Waters. 

6. Map — R. S. Williams. Owned by Miss Fanny Ruddy. 

7. Map — E. Mosley. Owned by Mr. Nathan Bennett. Old Gov. Cleveland re- 
sidence seen on left. 

8. Map — L. T. Button. Owned by Dr. Arthur D. Marsh. 

8c 

HAMPTON STREET 1 

1. Map — H. G. Taintor. Owned by Roger Davis. Built 1790. Later owned by 

Patrick Pearl. 

2. Map — Mrs. Pearl. Owned by Leighton Nosworthy. 

3. Map — Mosley. Used for many years as Parsonage. Owned by Albert Mills. 

4. R. D. Dorrance. Home of Hampton's Blacksmith, Henry Fuller. Shop north 
of house. Owned by Miss Esther Bates. 

5. Map— C. C. Button. Owned by William F. Court. 

-6. Map— Wm. Brown, storekeeper. Owned by Miss Hortense Church. 

7. Library, built 1860. Boyhood home of Rev. Sherrod Soule. See No. Bigelow 
and Litchfield. Later home of David Grinslit. 

8. Map — C. P. Cleveland. Residence of Gov. Chauncey F. Cleveland, Connecti- 
cut statesman for many years. Owned by Miss Katherine Ahearn. 

*^ HAMPTON STREET 2 

1. Map — L. L. Foster. Owned by Mrs. Mildred Hibbard. 

2. Map — L. Foster. Owned by Geo. Bridges. 

3. Map — H. Fuller. Owned by Mrs. Alida Freeman. Built by Gov. Chauncey F. 
Cleveland. 

4. Map — W. Clark. After 1870 the home of Wolcott Carey. Owned by Mrs. 
Nellie Sweet and Dr. Clarence Webster. 

5. Map — D. Hughes. Present owners, left Harold Stone, right Mrs. Mary Bray- 
man, Hampton's octegenarian, active at 103. 

■ 6. Map — Store. Owned by Robert D. Hastings. At left is home of Mrs. Annie 
Edmonds and Mrs. Leslie Mathews. 

7. Map — J. R. Tweedy. Owned by Mrs. Harry Street. 

8. Map— H. G. Taintor. Built in 1797. In the family 6 generations. Owned by 
Davis Estate. 



CHAPTER II 
WINDHAM VILLAGE 1713 (CANADA PARISH) 

THE first land distribution for Hampton was made 
in 1712, and the commanding site was the hill 
overlooking the valley where lay the little settle- 
ment of "Kennedy"; the village came into existence 
upon the hill long known as Chelsea Plill. 

The nearest house of worship was in Windham 
where each Sunday these sturdy folk journeyed afoot 
or horseback. It was customary for one horse to trans- 
port several in a family, by taking turns walking and 
riding. But the way grew long and tiresome, especially 
since few of the number had ever belonged to the Wind- 
ham settlement; there were no home ties between them, 
no warm handshakes from old friends and neighbors. 

In 1715 - 16 petition was made, and granted, for a 
new parish to be set off under the name of Canada Par- 
ish. Windham was generous, not only in granting the 
request, but also returning two hundred pounds which 
had been paid toward the building of the new Wind- 
ham meetinghouse. They also received "one-fourth of 
the John Cates legacy," the refugee from England, who 
sought safety from the spies of Governor Andross. A 
tombstone, probably the first in the Windham burying- 
grounds, commemorates his life and memory: 



10 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

In 

Memory of 

Mr. John Gates. 

He was a Gentleman^ born 

in England 

And the first Settler in the 

Town of Windham^ 

By his last 

Will and Testament 

He gave 

Generous Legacy 

lo Ye first 

Church of Ghrist in 

Windham 

In plate ^ and a generous 

Legacy in land 

For Ye support of Ye poor; 

And another 

Legacy for Ye support of Ye School 

In sead Town forever 

In Windham 

JulyYe lOthA.D. 

1697 

South and west bounds for the new parish were set 
as follows: "its south bound beginning at Canterbury 
line, to run westerly in the south line of Thomas La- 
sell's lot, and so in a direct course to Merricks Brook, 
and then the said brook to be the line untill it inter- 
sects the present road that leads from said town of 
(Canterbury) to the Burnt Cedar Swamp, and from 
thence a straight line to the brook (Ames Brook) that 
emptys into the Natchaug River about the middle of 
the six mile meadow (Mansfield)." 



WINDHAM VILLAGE 1713 11 

The new parish comprised all of the Windham terri- 
tory north of Mansfield to Pomfret line. Only by aid of 
the oldest road maps and from the U. S. Department 
of Agriculture, Bureau of Soil maps of Windham County 
has it been possible to locate the "Burnt Cedar Swamp" 
often referred to in bounds and locations. It appears to 
have been west of Kimball's mill, and about half-way 
between Windham and Hampton. The road from Wind- 
ham to the Burnt Cedar Swamp probably passed 
through "Pinch Street" which led to the old Brook 
road to Clark's Corners, and also to the four corners at 
the top of the hill overlooking Howard's Valley. The 
swamp lay at the head of Cary Pond, and the cedars 
were much valued for building purposes; but while al- 
lowed to take for their own use, they were forbidden to 
to take the cedars out of town. 

The parish was finally set off in May, 1717, after 
the little settlement had struggled through the worst 
winter of which we have record. A terrible storm swept 
all New England, burying cottages to their chimneys. 
"There was a great loss in all domesticated animals, as 
well as to the wild creatures of the forest. Deer were 
found frozen to death, buried twenty feet under the 
snow. Great damage was done to the young orchards, 
by the snow freezing a crust even to the boughs, and 
the frost split them to pieces."* 

Of the some thirty families who settled in the parish, 
it is probable that not more than half a dozen chose 
sites on the hill. The village began where the Bigelow 
road reaches the summit, and extended north and west. 
The first meetinghouse stood a little to the south of the 
present church; and a pound was built "for cattle doing 



♦Cotton Mathers Journal, BARBER'S HISTORY 



12 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

damage to crops" in "the great street near the meeting- 
house." 

THE CHELSEA INN 

This old inn took its name from the Hill, and was 
a most popular pre-Revolutionary public house of en- 
tertainment. That Nathaniel Hovey kept a public 
house before 1731 is apparent, for at that time one of 
the bretheren was brought before the church "accused 
of being overcome and disguised with strong drink; once 
on the highway, and again at the houses of Nathaniel 
Hovey and Benjamin Bidlock." 

Windham Village was built along the first surveyed 
highway of 1705, as indicated on old road maps; but it 
was 1731 before Pomfret surveyed her road west of the 
Mashamoquet Brook to the Appaquage line, following 
closely the line of the old Nipmuck Path. This highway 
afforded direct travel to the Boston Post Road, across 
Pomfret Hill, and along which the first Pomfret village 
was built. 

Through this highway came much patronage to the 
Chelsea Inn. In 1800 the inn was under the manage- 
ment of Charles C. Button. He was succeeded by Gil- 
bert Snow in 1870; and Isaac Sanderson became propri- 
etor during the building of the railroad. In 1874 Lucian 
Whittaker assumed ownership. While he and Mrs. 
Whittaker conducted the inn the grounds were taste- 
fully kept, ablaze with autumn salvia which gave quiet 
beauty to the street. The stables were filled with well- 
groomed horses for the use of guests when city families 
spent weeks at the Hill-top Inn, and businessmen came 
to the county for quiet week-ends. A Mr. Curtis drove 



CHELSEA INN 13 

the mail, and carried passengers to and from the rail- 
road station. 

Burdened with the weight of years, "Grandpa" 
Whittaker relinquished his business in 1902 to his son, 
Frank. In 1905 the inn again changed hands, and for 
the next thirty years prospered under the the capable 
management of Miss Anna Burnham until her death in 
1936. The inn is now owned by Mrs. Charles Farnham, 
who has made many changes, — among them removing 
the wide piazza — and has renamed it The Martha 
Fuller Inn. 

In 1810 there was only one inn in Hampton, but 
the coming of the turnpikes opened the Curtis Tavern 
in Howard's Valley, and the Clark Tavern at Clark's 
Corners. 



CHAPTER III 
THE FIRST ORDINATION 

THE first pastor of the church was William Billings, 
a young Yale graduate from Preston. Like many 
ministers of that period he was willing to settle 
in a pioneer parish and grow up with the people. Al- 
though unfurnished, the meetinghouse was made ready 
for the greatest of all events, the ordination, the first 
church affair in the settlement, for around the little 
meetinghouse all the life of the neighborhood centered, 
both religious and civil. 

A cluster of plank houses had replaced the first 
cabins of Windham Village. These houses were sparsely 
furnished. If two-story they contained four rooms, two 
on the first floor and two on the second. Wide-hearth 
fireplaces, the huge stone chimney in the center, warmed 
the big, bare rooms. These houses faced each other on 
"the great streat east and west." The street was laid 
out running north and south, with a broad common in 
the center where drill was held when a military com- 
pany was formed in 1724 with Stephen Howard, cap- 
tain, Nathaniel Kingsbury, lieutenant, Samuel Gardner, 
ensign, and sixty private;^ between the ages of sixteen 
and sixty. 

Let us look back to the morning of June 5, 1723, 
when the sleepy little settlement awakened to celebrate 



THE FIRST ORDINATION 15 

the success of their efforts to become an independent 
parish — the ambition of every pioneer community. 
Long before the first bhish of dawn all was astir. Every 
brick oven in the parish had been filled with pies and 
puddings, and all manner of good things to be served 
at the dinner that always followed an ordination. 

At an early hour people were arriving; friends were 
coming from miles around, and on horseback, toiling 
up the steep bridlepaths from the valleys, the wives 
riding on the pillion behind their husbands. Children in 
groups hurried along in suppressed excitement, for all 
must be quiet and orderly until after the services. Even 
the great barrel of cider carted by oxen to the meeting- 
house grounds was left unsampled until later. 

All interest centered in the meetinghouse that was 
built in the approved style of the day, a long, low one- 
story building, with rows of small windows on the sides 
and front; three great plank doors opened to the south 
onto three broad aisles that led to the platform where 
rose the high pulpit opposite the entrance. At the foot 
of the pulpit were the seats for the deacons. At the east 
and west ends of the room the floor was raised about 
six inches for pews for the church dignitaries, for to sit 
in a pew was to be a "peer in the parish." The body seats 
were rude benches. There were no church furnishings, 
except one cushion, and that for the Bible to rest on. 

Overhead the bare rafters shone clean. There was 
no chimney, for the Puritans valued their meetinghouses 
too highly to risk fires built in them, and they consid- 
ered "red hot preaching should be enough to keep them 
warm." 

Before the sun-dials indicated the hour of eight the 
congregation had gathered before the meetinghouse 



16 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

awaiting the arrival of the ministers, for they must not 
enter the sanctuary ahead of them. Solemnly, with 
Bibles under their arms, the pastors walked between 
the Hnes of people up to the door, their quiet dignity 
enhanced by their long, black coats, white collars, and 
high hats. The deacons followed and took seats in front, 
at the foot of the pulpit. Last of all came the congre- 
gation and settled themselves on the hard, narrow seats 
for the long meeting. They enjoyed more than anything 
the singing, or rather the rendition of the psalms. The 
minister had the only psalm-book, so he read a line for 
the congregation to chant in any tune or key that might 
come to mind. The singing was awful at that period, 
as described by a rhymster and written on a panel of 
a pew door in the Salem church: 

Could poor King David but for once 

To Salem Church repair. 
And hear his Psalms thus warbled out 

Good Lord, how he would swear. 

But could St. Paul but just pop in, 
From higher scenes abstracted. 

And hear his Gospel now explained, 
By Heavens, he'd run distracted. 

It was after the nineteenth century before our pres- 
ent hymns became a part of church service. 

There were five reverend gentlemen present: Samuel 
Whiting of Windham, Eliphalet Adams of New Lon- 
don, Samuel Esterbrooks of Canterbury, Joseph Colt 
of Plainfield, and Ebenezer Williams of Pomfret. If the 
discourses were dry, and the singing bad, the dinner 



THE FIRST ORDINATION 17 

was good; and after the last Amen had been said, all 
felt that they had done their rehgious duty and the rest 
of the day was theirs for a good time, for, Puritan re- 
ligion consisted more in church attendance, and strict 
doctrine beliefs, than in refraining from all festivities. 
Thus we find that Ordination Day was not only a spiri- 
tual event, but also a day of merriment. 

Where was the great dinner held? Perhaps at Na- 
thaniel Hovey's Inn, in the spacious kitchen where al- 
ways hung the steaming kettle over the fire. Or it may 
have been held in a new barn, swept and adorned for 
the occasion; for, the ordination ball in the evenihg was 
as much a part of the festivities as the dinner. We may 
presume that the dinner and ball were held in Mr. Dur- 
kee's barn. When the tables were cleared, and candle- 
v/ood torches were aflare, the old-time fiddler, (who 
likely had learned his tunes in England), set all feet 
tapping to his music. It is recorded that at an ordina- 
tion ball one Danvers young man danced so long and 
vigorously on the sanded floor that he wore out a new 
pair of boots. Whether the ministers attended, or ap- 
proved, is not known, but they could not have objected 
very strongly. Undoubtedly the occasions were the be- 
ginning of many a romance, as the young maids would 
then put aside their straw bonnets which hid their 
pretty faces so completely. These bonnets, while the 
pride of the womenfolk, were the dispair of the tithing- 
man who could not catch them napping under their 
hats. Of this, the Rev. Whitney records, "He doth 
pleasantly say from ye Pulpit hee doth seem to be 
preaching to stacks of straw with men among them." 

W^hen the Rev. William Billings settled in the new 
parish he bought of Samuel Ashlev one hundred acres 



18 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

of land from the tract which extended along the Nip- 
muck Path and Little River to the summit of the Hill 
above North Bigelow, and on the hillside facing the 
common built his dwelling. 

Rev. Billings' pastorate was not all harmonious, as 
he seems to have had difficulty with his discipline, one 
man being brought before the church for saying, "I 
would rather hear my dog bark than hear Billings 
preach." Others were brought before the church for 
being "overtaken with strong drink." But innkeeper 
Hovey or Benjamin Bidlack, storekeeper, who furn- 
ished the drink were not dealt with. 

Pastor Billings' work for the parish was cut short by 
his death in 1733, just ten years after he had so happily 
taken the charge. He left a widow and four small chil- 
dren. His estate consisted of: 

£. S. D. £. S. D. 

Clothes 24 4 2 Bedding 51 10 

Books 48 10 7 Indian Girl 20 

Horse 22 Farm & House 600 

Stock 42 Brass 7 

Furniture 20 Pewter 8 7 

Cloth, yarn, flax 20 Iron 10 4 

Alone, Mrs. Billings found it impossible to support 
herself and children, and the year following her hus- 
band's death, she requested to be allowed the balance 
on her husband's salary, which v/as granted; she had 
barely enough provisions to last a week. But her prob- 
lems were solved by marrying the second pastor, Sam- 
uel Mosley, a graduate of Harvard in the class of 1729. 
Mr. Mosley is said to have been a man of dignity, 



THE FIRST ORDINATION 19 

strict in discipline, and an able and earnest preacher. 
There is no record of the amount of his salary, but it is 
evident he looked well to his own good when he mar- 
ried the widow of his predecessor. A colonial minister 
had need of being a good business man as well as a 
scholar. All were obliged to till the soil, for "bread is 
earned by the sweat of the brow," and, "he that did 
not work, neither could he eat," were literal facts. Each 
man was dependent upon his harvests, and not upon 
the outside world. 

MEMBERS OF THE FIRST CHURCH IN 1723 

Members of the first church in 1723 were Rev. Wil- 
liam Billings; deacons, Nathaniel Kingsbury, and Wm. 
Durkee; members, Ebenezer Abbey, George Martin, 
Joseph Jennings, Nathaniel Hovey, Samuel Ashley, 
John Clarke, John Durkee, William Durkee, Jeremiah 
Durkee, Thomas Marsh, William Farnham, John Scrip- 
ture, Nathaniel Fline, Benjamin Bidlock. Within the 
next two years the following were united with the 
church, the community having grown rapidly: Daniel 
Holt, David Warren, Paul Abbot, Matthias Marsh, Wil- 
liam Averill, James Utley, Daniel Button, Timothy 
Pearl, Robert Willis, Jacob and John Preston, Ebenezer 
Crocker, Nathaniel W^oodard, Robert Holt, Ebenezer 
Martin, Joseph Badcock, Philip Abbot, Stephen Fuller, 
Nathaniel Parker, William Shaw, Jon. Hendee, Thomas 
Durkee, Samuel Colburn, Joshua Holt, Joseph Lasalle, 
Nathaniel Ford, Robert Colburn, Samuel Blanchard, 
Benjamin Preston, and David and Isaac Canada, sons 
of the first settler; his widow, Margaret's name is found 
on the lists, as well as a large number of wives and fam- 



20 FOLKLORE AND I^IRESIDES 

ilies of the above. There was also a number of resi- 
dents not connected with the church. 

Discipline was strict in the parish. In 1725 they 
voted, "We look upon every baptized person to be a 
subject of church discipline and ought to be called to 
an account by some church or other, whenever they 
offend." 

Schools were established, and were held in private 
homes in different parts of the parish, a few weeks at a 
time; the teacher was paid a small sum for each day 
the child attended. The parish had its own selectmen 
and surveyors, so needed to go to Windham Center 
only for town meetings. 



CHAPTER IV 
REV. SAMUEL MOSLEY'S PASTORATE, 1734 - 1791 



R 



EV. MOSLEY developed the hundred acres into 
one of the best farms in the county. A thousand 
sheep once grazed upon these hillside pastures, 
and his cattle and swine were rivalled by none, in all 
the fifty-eight years of his pastorate. When he came to 
the village it contained not more than a half dozen 
houses. The womenfolk carried their foot -stoves to 
meeting, and men put bear skins on the floor, or bags 
were made of skins into which they thrust their feet, 
during the long meetings. And too, some brought the 
family dog to lie at their feet to add warmth to the 
freezing room. Dogs were taken to meeting until often 
a "dog-whipper" was necessary to keep them in order. 
There is record that in one New England parish, dogs 
set the congregation to rout by chasing into meeting 
one of those little animals which are so pungently of- 
fensive. This must have provided amusement for the 
"wicked boys" who were obliged to sit on the pulpit 
stairs to be kept quiet. 

Like other ministers. Rev. Mosley owned slaves and 
had a devoted man-servant. Cuff, and Cuff's wife, Han- 
nah. Their several children were baptized into the 
church as "the children of Hannah." Hannah had a vile 
temper, and threatened to kill her master. When Cuff 
warned Mr. Mosley, Hannah was traded to a neighbor, 



22 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

Joshua Hamond, for adjoining land on the east. This 
incident caused much stir around the parish, one man 
declaring that he could already ''see the horns of the 
pope." But the Reverend soon quieted the disturbance 
caused by "separating man and wife." Cuff remained 
faithful, and accompanied his master wherever he went. 
Tradition says that when Mr. Mosley went to Boston, 
Cuff started a few hours ahead, and was in Boston 
to take his master's horse. It is said that Cuff knew 
every one of his master's sheep by sight. When neigh- 
bor's sheep jumped fences and flocks became mixed. 
Cuff would mount a fence and as the sheep were driven 
past, one by one, not able to count, he would exclaim: 
*'There goes one sheep, there goes tother; and there 
goes Masser Mosley's sheep," and he was never mis- 
taken in the animals. 

Cuff was also ingenious. A story is told that the 
Reverend undertook to make a "beetle". The piece of 
round wood would roll at each attempt to bore a hole 
for the handle. After exhausting his patience, he turned 
to Cuff, who was watching, yet not daring to offer 
unasked for advice, and exclaimed, "Cuff, how shall I 
make the beetle lie still?" "Put it in the hog's trough, 
Masser Mosley, put it in the hog's trough," advised 
the darkey. 

It was customary for church Elders to gather their 
families for evening devotion just before sundown. It 
was late fall, and the huge fireplace had been filled with 
logs before the family and servants knelt around the 
hearth while the minister stood, beseeching the blessing 
of the Almighty. Growing weary of long kneeling with 
closed eyes, Cuff ventured a glance at the fire, where, 
to his horror, he saw a black snake crawl from the end 



REV. MOSLEY, 1734-1791 23 

of the backlog, and stretch itself along the hearth. A 
moment later, a second appeared, and then a third. 
This was too much for the old negro, who believed that 
satan lived in the serpent. He sprang to his feet cry- 
ing, "Stop praying, Masser, stop praying or the devil 
will come and carry us all off!" 

The Mosley house still stands, and until in the late 
'80's, when it became the property of the late Addison 
Grinslit, it remained unchanged, with many small cham- 
bers in the ell used for slave quarters. Mr. Mosley does 
not appear to have held Hannah's children in bondage, 
as the census of 1790 credits Hampton as having only 
one slave, undoubtedly Cuff, Mosley's body servant. 

Only two highways had been surveyed, and the 
country was infested with bears, wolves and other wild 
animals. Wolves were most dreaded, and bounty was 
paid for their heads. As the meetinghouse was the cen- 
ter for law and order, the animals were brought there 
to collect the bounty — fifteen shillings if alive, and 
ten shillings if dead. Some communities required the 
hunter to nail the head to the side or under the win- 
dows of the meetinghouse. In Hampton the inhabitants 
were ordered to "nayle it to a little red oak tree at the 
northeastern end of the meetinghouse." The wary wolf 
was not easily destroyed by musket or "wolf- hook." 
Israel Putnam killed the last wolf in Windham County 
in the winter of 1742-43. 

On the meetinghouse green stood the instruments of 
punishment, the stocks, whipping-post, pillory and cage. 
Also, there were horse blocks: rows of stepping stones 
or hewn logs for mounting horses. The meetinghouse 
was not only used for worship, but for townmeeting 
and as a storehouse. Until after the Revolution, it was 



24 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

sometimes used as a powder magazine, for, never hav- 
ing fire, it was a safe place for explosives. A "powder- 
closite" was built in the roof-beams; when a thunder 
storm came up the meeting disbursed for fear the place 
might be struck. Yet it is strange they built no powder- 
house, since they would not risk heating the meeting- 
house, and cut away every tree or shrub from their 
villages for fear of forest fire, or lurking enemies. 

Grain was often stored in the church loft; hatches 
were provided for the corn to be paid toward the min- 
ister's salary. 

Since the pastor was the one educated man in the 
parish, he was magistrate and teacher. The little schools 
held in farmhouses, at best taught hardly more than 
the three R's, so young men of the parish who aspired 
for more education, found it by entering the home of 
Mr. Mosley and studying with him. Thus as preacher, 
magistrate, and teacher he was indeed the first citizen. 
For fifty-eight years he baptized, married, and buried 
the people, and was looked upon as a father, sometimes 
an arbitrary father, but on the whole greatly beloved. 

The first blacksmith set up shop (or coal-house) 
soon after Mr. Mosley came to the parish, in 1735. This 
was on the King's Highway, in Westminster; Windham 
claimed the territory east of Little River to this old 
road for many years. 

It would seem to have been an out of the way place 
for a village smithy to establish himself, but it was on 
the main thorofare and convenient for shoeing horses 
of the many travelers. Every farm in those days had 
its own forge, but although much blacksmithing was 
done at home, the village smith was an important man 
in supplying pots and pans for housewives, all nails and 



The Legends below refer to the following 24a 

pages of pictures. 



^*^ HAMPTON HILL and NORTH HAMPTON 

1. Map — Wm. Brown. Hampton Store, built about 1910 by Tom Roberts, store- 
keeper. There has been a store on this site for over a century. 

2. Catholic Church. 

3. Hampton Hill's second school house. Town Hall on second floor. 

4. Map — J. Brown. The Lester Bumham homestead. John Nigrelli, owner. 

5. Map — H. Hughes — Owned by Dr. Royal Parnum. Built by Rev. Ludovicius 
Weld, third minister, 1792-1824. 

6. Map — J. Cannon. The Lyman Baker House. Owned by Dr. Wilfred Pickles. 
See Hampton 1850. 

7. Map — L. Fuller. The Capt. Stedman House. Owned by Mr. Denny of Provi- 
dence. 

8. Map — Copeland. The Andrew Rindge Place. Owned by Alex Marcus. 



24c NORTHEAST HAMPTON 1 

1. Map — G. Lathrop. Owned by E>r. Lindsley Cochue. 

2. Map — G. Lathrop. Owned by John Archer. 

3. Map — W. JJtley. Owned by Mrs. Ada Hickey. 

4. Map — G. Lathrop. Owned by Mrs. Sarah Fuller. 

5. Map — E. S. Mosley. Owned by William Spicer. 

6. Map — Wd. Dennison. Old Kenyon Farm. Owned by Morton Burdick. Built 
before 1760, unremodeled. Throughout the years the farm has been under culti- 
vation. 

7. Hemlock Glen, beauty spot of Hampton. Owned by Miss Sarah Fuller. On 
map as Rockwell's Mills. 

8. Bell School House. 



^* NORTHEAST HAMPTON 2 

1. Map — Grow. Owned by Frank Postemski. 

2. Map — D. Darby. Owned by Elmer Stone. A Grow house in 1743. 

3. Map — P. H. Pearl, owned by Andrew Polom. Timothy Pearl acquired the 
Appaquage lot in 1713. 

4. Map — J. M. Congdon, owned by Wendell Davis. 

5. Map — Clapp. Built 1801. Owned by Herbert Preston. 

6. Appaquage School, moved to No. Bigelow Road, to be remodeled by Ameri- 
can Legion 1949. 

7. Map — H. G. Nye. Owned by Wilmer Jones. 

8. Map — A. Martin. Owned by Morris Metcalf. Geo. Martin was resident in 
1716. 




\t/ 1 







REV. MOSLEY, 1734-1791 25 

bolts, or iron used, and shoeing horses and oxen. In 
1731 the highway (now Route 97 from Pomfret) was 
built, and was long called the Old Windham Road; it 
connected the new settlement with the Middle Post 
Road that crossed Pomfret. 

An outstanding event of public interest during Rev. 
Mosley's pastorate was the tragedy of Elizabeth Shaw 
in 1745, the first public execution in Windham County. 
Elizabeth was the grand-daughter of William Shaw, Sr., 
one of the first four settlers. Her father, William, Jr., 
made his home on Shaw Hill; although old maps show 
it as Jewett Hill, west of Howard's Valley. History is 
silent about the circumstances leading up to the tragedy, 
except that the weakminded, fifteen year old girl, when 
about to become an unwed mother, stole away to the 
Cowantic Rocks to bear her child. When search was 
made by her stern father, the infant was found dead, 
hidden in a crevice. Perhaps the unhappy girl walked 
the two miles to these rocks, hoping to find some 
friendly Indian woman to help in her hour of need, for 
the Indians for centuries had made their winter homes 
beneath the shelter of these ledges, where overhanging 
walls are still black from smoke of their fires. History 
does tell of the birth of the male child, June 29, 1745, 
and that "she left it untill it perished for want of relief, 
and did endeavor to conceal the birth and death there- 
of, so that it should not come to light wheather said 
child were born dead or alive." For this crime she was 
hanged, December 18, 1745. This tragedy attracted 
wide attention, for the moral effect could not be over- 
looked since common belief centered in carrying out to 
the letter the Bible text, "Whosoever sheddeth man's 
blood, by man shall his blood be shed . . ."; but they 



26 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

overlooked the words of Him who said, "Let him who 
is without sin among you . . . cast the first stone.'* 
There is no record that her betrayer was sought out 
and punished. 

In the period when Mr. Mosley was in charge of the 
church, the first seeds of American freedom were being 
sown. As all government pertained to the church, so it 
was that in the church the agitation began. The doc- 
trine of Roger Williams had spread from Rhode Island 
to Connecticut. His Proclamation of Liberty against "the 
legal bondage of praying night and morning in family 
worship wheather persons felt in the spirit of prayer or 
not," and paying taxes to support the church, and the 
obligation of regular church attendance, brought about 
considerable controversey, when followers of "the New 
Light" rebelled against the authority of the established 
church. But it is to the credit of Rev. Mosley that his 
parishioners were not persecuted by fine, imprisonment 
or whipping, nor for non-attendance or refusing to sup- 
port the church. In Old Windham and Canterbury so 
many were jailed for the caujse that a new jail had to 
be built. On the church records of Hampton only one 
entry was made to the effect that it "looked upon those 
separating bodies of professing Christians in Plainfield, 
Canterbury, and Mansfield as scandalous and disorderly 
walkers, and accordingly withdrew communion from 
them." 

We can understand the attitude of that day, for few 
men had even a common school education, except min- 
isters — who were determined to hold the people in their 
power. The feeling for the oppresed is expressed in the 
writings of the Reverend Elisha Paine of Canterbury, 
one of the few educated men in the Separatist move- 



REV. MOSLEY, 1734-1791 27 

ment; i.e., separation of church and state. While im- 
prisoned in Windham jail for his preaching, under date 
of December 11, 1752, he wrote: "I can not but marvel 
to see how soon the children will forget the sword that 
drove their fathers into this land, and take hold of it as 
a jewel, and kill their grand-children therewith." 

That Rev. Mosley's parish was not divided is shown 
by the building of a meetinghouse; the old one had be- 
come crowded and out of date. The congregation was 
enlarged by attendance of people from Pomfret who 
lived near Canada Parish (Hampton). In 1749 plans 
were drawn for a new meetinghouse. This move 
alarmed Pomfret, as her southwest inhabitants desired 
to be set off, and wished to help build the new church; 
although the residents of Elliott and Kimball Hill did 
not want to be set off in what later was to be Abington 
Society, and therefore, for a time, were taxed for the 
building of two meetinghouses — by Abington, where 
they rightly belonged, and by Hampton, where they 
preferred to attend. At length the present boundary 
was set between the two parishes, and those left on the 
Pomfret side were obliged to support Abington parish. 
This dispute hindered the building of the meetinghouse, 
and it was not completed until 1753, two years after 
Abington church was built. Thus to Abington goes the 
honor of having the oldest meetinghouse in Connecti- 
cut, now in use. 

But Hampton may well have credit too, for the 
church, built by the twenty year old master-builder, 
Thomas Stedman, still stands, a monument to his craft. 
A massive sounding-board with the text, ^'Holiness is 
the Lord's," was suspended over the pulpit by a slender 
rod attached to the rafters. The sounding-board hung 



28 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

dangerously near the minister's head as he stood in the 
pulpit. This sounding-board in the Hampton church, 
had "panels and balls, cords and tassels, with hanging 
fringe." The pulpit was as high as the gallery, so that 
the minister could watch the congregation from all 
points. Pulpits were boxed in, with a side door opening 
into a staircase that wound up to a trap-door. The ar- 
rangement was a source of amusement for the children, 
who counted the seconds when the minister entered un- 
til his head appeared through the trap-door. But if one 
were caught smiling, the tithing-man was empowered 
to administer punishment after meeting, on the church 
grounds. 

By 1768 repairs were made on the meetinghouse; it 
was painted yellow, imitating the new church in Pom- 
fret, which was the envy of the county. The seats were 
turned around, and pews were added in the north and 
south sides. The pulpit was placed in the east end, as 
it is now. About 1780 a bass viol was introduced into 
the services, and the spot where it stood in the south 
corner of the choir gallery is still visible. Some were 
shocked, and left the church; one member, Benjamin 
Jewett, declared that he could not attend where they 
"fiddled in the House of God." 

In 1796 Col. Ebenezer Mosley, of Revolutionary 
fame, (Rev. Mosley's son), presented Hampton church 
with a bell. It was ordered rung at 9 o'clock at night, 
at noon, and at 8 o'clock Saturday; to be tolled for 
evening meetings, and give the day and month every 
evening. At times of death it tolled the age of the de- 
ceased. Clocks and watches had not come into general 
use, and the ringing of the bell was welcome, although 
many depended on sundials. 



REV. MOSLEY, 1734-1791 29 

Four years prior to repairing the church, a dispute 
arose as to who should sit in the pews. The member 
entrusted with the delicate office of seating the congre- 
gation had allowed "men of little or no estate to sit in 
the forward and high pews; while others of good estate 
and high in public esteem were compelled with shame 
to take the lower seats." 

Thus the galleries and body-seats were left thin 
compared to the pews. Youth sat in the galleries and 
the tithing-man was busy keeping them in order. Lead- 
ing men of the parish were angry to find themselves 
crowded out of the "high places" by men who had not 
helped to build the meetinghouse. Finally a meeting 
was called, and it was voted to "sell the pews at public 
vendue, no man to buy more than one, and no man 
outside the Society to buy one. Captain Robert Dur- 
kee to serve as vendue master." Captain Durkee had 
served bravely in the French and Indian wars and was 
a fit man to face an aroused congregation. But alas, 
the high and mighty now found themselves in danger of 
being out-bid by those who would then choose their own 
seats in the house of worship. Excitement ran high when 
the parish assembled to hear the valiant captain shout 
the bids. John Hammond bid on a wall pew, saying that 
as he was a little deaf, and the sound of the minister's 
voice would strike the wall and bound back, he "could 
hear a great deal more perstinct." • 

Twenty-five pews were sold for prices ranging from 
fourteen pounds down to three. The lucky bidders were 
Jeremiah Utley, John Fuller, Hezekiah Hammond, 
Stephen Durkee, Timothy Pearl, Zebediah Farnum, 
Ebenezer Hovey, Captain John Howard, Ebenezer Grif- 
fin, Henry Durkee, Daniel Farnum, Thomas Stedman, 



30 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

Jun., Isaac Bennett, Jephth Utley, William Farnum, 
Joseph Burnham, John Hammond, Benjamin Cheddle, 
Stephen Arnold, John Sessions, Jonathan Clark, Sam- 
uel Fuller, John Smith, Gideon Martin, and Isaac Clark. 
Some of these were leading men, while others who were 
"bachelors who had never pade rates for more than 
one head and a horse," obtained some of the best pews, 
which brought about further dissatisfaction. 

By advice of the elders of the mother church of 
Windham, a second meeting was called April 21, 1763, 
and the vote four month before to sell the pews, was 
rescinded by a large majority, and pew owners were ob- 
liged to relinquish their pews. It was customary at that 
time, in the societies in Windham County, tc include 
transfer of pews as a part of the personal property in 
the purchase or sale of farms. We are not told whether 
the money was refunded to the bidders when the new 
committee reseated the congregation according to 
wealth and church standing. at the close of the Revol- 
ution 

Rev. Mosley was not able to attend the celebration 
service held on Windham Green, for in the closing years 
of his life he was confined to his bed. His congregation 
was faithful to him, and he remained in pastoral charge 
although young men were called to supply the pulpit. 

In the hurricane of 1815, Hampton's church lost its 
spire, as did most of Windham County churches. When 
stoves were introduced into churches about 1825, they 
were usually placed in the vestibules, one on each side 
of the door; pipes extended through the church to 
chimneys at the rear of the building. 



FIRST SCHOOLS 31 

FIRST SCHOOLS 

School districts were first set off in 1763. District 
No. 1 began at Rev. Mosley's on the Hill and ran west 
to the highway, crossing Cedar Brook, and taking in 
Robinson Hill (then Fuller's Hill); the line continued 
southwesterly to the parish boundary (the burnt cedar 
swamp west of Carey Pond on Merrick's Brook). This 
wild tract lay between ''upper road" to Scotland and 
Clark's Corners. 

The schoolhouse in District Number 2 was built just 
north ofCedar SwampBrook, about opposite the present 
Fish and Game Club; the district included Howard's 
Valley and South Bigelow neighborhoods. The building 
was rough plank typical of the period, and after the 
present South Bigelow and Howard's Valley school- 
houses were built after 1800, it was used for many 
years by different sects for meetings. 

North Bigelow District was third, and extended to 
the northeastern line, Alwarth Hill, which is now partly 
in the towns of Brooklyn and Pom fret. Three miles 
was not considered a long walk for hardy youngsters, 
although in heavy storms ox-teams came to the school- 
houses to take the children home; buried deep in straw 
they rode in a degree of comfort. 

District No. 4 was the Clark's Corners school. This 
district was so large another schoolhouse was built in 
what is now South Chaplin, where the first settler, Ben- 
jamin Chaplin, had settled by the Natchaug, and a 
small community had sprung up. 

In 1774 the Appaquage district was set off and the 
present schoolhouse built on the edge of the highway, 
with no playground provided. 



32 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

About this time the Natchaug district in the north- 
western end of the parish was provided for the ten fam- 
ilies in this remote section. The census of 1790 ascribed 
to Hampton 1,332 whites, and one slave, (Cuff, belong- 
ing to Rev. Mosley); there were then 189 houses in the 
parish. 

Hampton had been slow in establishing schools, 
although meagre schooling had been maintained in 
farmhouses and alternating from one side of the parish 
to the other, parents and the town paying for the em- 
ploy of teacher. The term "keeping school" — decidedly 
New England — no doubt originated from this practice. 

The Bell and Howard's Valley schoolhouses were 
built at a much later period. 

The two brick school buildings of North and South 
Bigelow were built of brick made at the kilns on the 
old Litchfield farm. Within the past few years these 
schools have been closed for lack of scholars, and the 
buildings are now used as dwelling-houses. 



CHAPTER V 
DURING AND AFTER THE REVOLUTION 



H 



ARDLY had schools been estabhshed before the 
clouds of war again settled over the town, and 
the men who had fought in the Indian wars took 
up arms, and led the new recruits to fight for freedom. 

Captain Ebenezer Mosley led a company to Bunker 
Hill, and later, marched 1,092 men from Windham and 
New London counties to the defense of Providence. 

When post riders brought the few letters from the 
nearest postoffice. New London, crowds gathered at the 
inn for tidings of war. Bonfires were used to signal from 
hilltops. On Killingly Hill a Liberty Pole was erected, 
and to its crossbars a kettle of burning tar was hoisted 
to warn the surrounding communities. 

With nearly every able-bodied man gone to war the 
women and children faced the ordeal of food shortage. 
Salt, valued at six dollars a bushel, must be had not 
only for household use, but for curing meats. Another 
item was molasses, used in place of sugar. Ebenezer 
GriflRn, Jr., — whose home was the old landmark once 
owned by Alfred Kimball — transported cattle, butter, 
and cheese with ox-team to Providence and Massachu- 
setts. These were long journeys, but supplies must be 
obtained in harbor towns. The incident of the Brig 
Nancy, captured by people of Stonington, and freight 



34 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

of nineteen thousand gallons of molasses used as money, 
shows the scarcity of that period. 

Peddlers who formerly had been welcome callers 
with merchandise not obtainable elsewhere, were now 
looked upon as public nuisances, and (as in Ashford) 
were often picked up and sentenced to hard labor. 

Jeremiah Clark, of the Clark's Corners family, had 
opened a little trade with Newport, exchanging domes- 
tic commodities for sugar, molasses, and other staples 
brought inland in two boxes slung in a bag across the 
back of his horse. Unjustly suspected of smuggling tea 
into the town, his neighbors intercepted him on a re- 
turn trip with tar and feathers; but he was released 
when they failed to find the forbidden though innocent 
herb in his pack. 

One noteworthy incident of these times was the cap- 
ture of Peters' spies. The Reverend Samuel Peters of 
Hebron, a loyal Episcopalian, in the fever of 1774, from 
his pulpit told his fiock to take up arms against this 
High Treason, and "insulted the grand Cause of Liberty 
by calling it rebellion." This brought down upon him 
a storm of protest from the whole country-side. On 
September 6, a crowd gathered around the Reverend's 
house where he and friends were barricaded. From a 
window Rev. Peters proceeded to plead his cause, de- 
claring that there were no arms in the house except two 
guns out of repair. Suddenly a shot was heard from 
within the house; the indignant patriots tore down the 
barricade and found all well armed. They demanded 
that he draw up and sign a satisfactory declaration and 
confession. He refused; accordingly, he was seized, put 
into his own ox-cart and hauled to the horse-block, 
upon which he was forced to stand and read a confes- 



DURING & AFTER THE REVOLUTION 35 

sion written for him. Soon after, Rev. Peters left for 
Boston, and in November sailed to England. To his 
mother in Hebron, and to New York friends, he sent 
letters by two friends who had accompanied him to 
Boston. These messengers stopped in Hampton at the 
Chelsea Inn. Here they were intercepted by a party of 
patriots, questioned and allowed to depart. Not far on 
their way a man behind a fence heard them say that 
"they might yet be searched before they got home, 
might be brought into trouble, and therefore had better 
hide the letters." From his hiding-place the man saw 
them alight and hide the letters in a stone fence. The 
letters were found, and quickly horsemen were dis- 
patched to overtake the messengers. They denied 
knowledge of the letters, offering to so declare upon 
oath; but when shown the letters, were forced to admit 
the truth. The exact spot where the letters were hidden 
is not known, but it was likely along the wayside be- 
tween Hampton Hill and Windham Center. 

Immediately a court was held to decide proper pun- 
ishment. The rancor of the letters tempered the indict- 
ment; to his mother Rev. Peters had written, "Six regi- 
ments are coming from England and sundry men-of-war, 
and as soon as they come hanging work will go on; de- 
struction will begin in seaport towns — lintels sprinkled 
on the side-posts would preserve the faithful." To Dr. 
Auchmuty in New York, he wrote, "the clergy of Con- 
necticut must fall a sacrifice to the rage of the Puritan 
Mob-ility, if the old Serpent, that Dragon is not bound 
. . . Spiritual iniquity rides in high places, halberds, 
pistols and swords . . . Their rebellion is obvious, and 
treason is common, and robbery is their daily devotion. 
The boundary of New York may directly extend to 



36 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

Connecticut. Boston must then, and Rhode Island, be 
swallowed up as Dothan." 

The convicted tale-bearers, beset by the angry 
crowd, begged in vain for mercy; ordinary delinquents 
might have drawn sentence to the public whipping-post, 
but the offense was serious and a heavier penalty was 
demanded, for news of the capture had spread so rapidly 
the country-folk had gathered from miles around. The 
prisoners must "run the gauntlet." Straightway the 
crowd formed opposing lines from the meetinghouse, 
across the street and green toHovey's Inn, and Peters' 
unfortunate emissaries were kicked, cuffed, pushed, and 
booted, with all the insult malice could conceive, down 
the lines. It was a red letter day for Hampton. The 
incident reveals that the old Chelsea Inn occupied the 
same site as the present inn. 

Before the outbreak of war in 1771 some of the best 
men of the parish had emigrated to the far off Wyom- 
ing Valley, in Pennsylvania. Among the first were 
Stephen Fuller and Capt. Robert Durkee; young Eben- 
ezer Jewett moved the Durkee family by ox-sled to 
this ''far west." 

Conflict between Pennsylvania and Connecticut, in 
1762-3, over ownership of this region had brought 
about defeat to the Pennymites, and opened the Valley 
to peaceful settlement. So glowing were the reports 
of the new country, so free of stone and rugged winters 
so common back home, that ^'emigration raged for a 
time like an epidemic, and seemed likely to sweep away 
a good part of the population." But while the Penny- 
mites had been conquered, the settlers had not reck- 
oned on the Indians, and dark days awaited them. 

In 1778, when people of Windham began to take 



DURING & AFTER THE REVOLUTION 37 

heart, with the coming of the French to aid their stand 
for hberty, tidings came of the awful massacre in the 
Wyoming Valley. Among the killed were Capt. Robert 
Durkee, Robert Jameson, Andrew Dana, George Dor- 
rance, James Bidlack, Thomas and Stephen Fuller, 
Stephen Whiton, John Abbot, Samuel Ransom, Elisha 
Williams, Timothy Pierce, and John Perkins, all bar- 
barously butchered, their homes burned, farms ravaged, 
and families driven out naked into the wilderness. The 
settlement was ruined. 

Anxiously at home relatives waited for tidings from 
members of their households. Weeks passed; then one 
by one stricken famiHes came back to Windham and 
Hampton. Mrs. Stephen Fuller, and Mrs. John Abbot, 
each with nine children, begged their way to their old 
homes in Hampton, Mrs. Fuller on horseback, with her 
daughter, Polly. Mrs. Anderson Dana, with her widowed 
daughter, and six younger children walked all the way 
to her old home in Ashford. Mrs. Elisha Williams, after 
losing her husband, two sons, and a son-in-law in the 
massacre, came, barefoot and starving, with her five 
children, to her father's home in Canterbury. 

In the Spring of 1771, New England suffered an 
extraordinary flood, caused by a great accumulation of 
ice in the rivers — not unlike the flood of 1936 which 
damaged or carried away nearly every bridge in Wind- 
ham County. All bridges along the Natchaug, Willi- 
mantic, and Shetucket were swept away; most roads 
were impassable, and travelers were obliged to go miles 
out of their way, and risk the danger of being drowned 
in attemping the available fording-places. Windham re- 
fused to rebuild the bridges, as they were on the out- 
skirts of town and did not accommodate townspeople to 



38 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

any extent. Thus five "cart-bridges" were left unbuilt 
until, by order of the General Assembly, Windham was 
ordered to do so. The people of Hampton were forced 
to bear their share of the extra taxation, which, added 
to the demands of the mother country, was a burden, 
indeed. 

The Phenix or Windham Herald , a small, four-page 
paper, printed by John Byrne, on a grayish linen, ap- 
peared March 12, 1791. The printing office was just 
north of the Windharn Court-house. In a few years the 
newspaper had gained twelve hundred subscribers. For 
fifty years weekly deliveries were made throughout the 
county by Thomas and Samuel Farnham, and Jonathan 
Ashley, Jr. When bent and gray, they would refuse 
rides, saying that they could make better time afoot. 

The newspaper was made up largely of advertise- 
ments of merchants and farmers — James Howard of 
Hampton was advertising a "beautiful bright bay stal- 
lion. Light Infantry, fifteen hands high. Imported from 
England," under date of May 11, 1793 — also, foreign 
and other news from three weeks, to three months old. 

In 1795 a postoffice was established in Windham, at 
the printing office; John Byrne was postmaster. In Jan- 
uary of that year a postoffice had been opened in Pom- 
fret, the first on the Middle Post Road between Boston 
and Hartford. Unclaimed letters were advertised in the 
Windham Herald^ even mail for Ashford, Brooklyn, Can- 
terbury, Hampton, Mansfield, and Killingly. Postage 
was high; five cents, within the State, and fifteen to 
twenty cents for foreign or "far west." The receiver 
paid postage, and only business letters were prepaid. 



CHAPTER VI 

HAMPTON DOCTORS 

DR. JOHN BREWSTER was the first resident 
physician, in 1755. For many years previous 
Windham had been cared for by Mrs. Hannah 
Bradford Ripley, a descendant of the Plymouth Gov- 
ernor — a remarkable woman, skilled in healing and 
midwifery. She was succeeded by Dr. Richard Hunting- 
ton, who had been her understudy. 

In 1829 prominent doctors were Brewster, Houlton, 
and Hovey. A Dr. Dyer Hughes practiced in Hampton 
from 1830 to 1881. He was an interesting character of 
the old school, making his rounds on horseback with 
his pill boxes in saddle-bags. A call in town was twelve 
and a half cent; and to Abington, six miles, his fee was 
twenty-five cents. Even at such low rates he accumu- 
lated a fair substance and maintained a fine home on 
the Hill. Dr. Robert Potter (1845 - 1862), and Louisa 
Potter (1845 - 1866), botanic doctors, lived in the home- 
stead now owned for more than fifty years by Lester 
Jewett, present home of his grand-daughter, Mrs. Al- 
bert Hoffman, (Vera Jewett). 

Other practitioners were Drs. George W. Avery, 
1863; Charles H. Warner, 1871; Daniel L. Hazen, eclec- 
tic, 1874-5; Charles Gardner, 1876-84; W.H.Dun- 
ham, 1886; Harvey H. Converse, 1886-91; H. M. 
Bannister, 1893-5; and L. W. Spencer, 1895-1910. Dr. 



39 



40 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

Spencer took much interest in the grounds about his 
home. The lawns of the several houses in which he 
lived in Hampton still show his fine landscaping. 

Dr. Amos Avery, 1903-07, owned the first automo- 
bile in Hampton. It was a long, buck-board affair, 
without windshield or top; a five gallon gasolene can 
was mounted on the rear. It no doubt attained a speed 
of twelve to fifteen miles an hour in dry weather, but 
on wet roads the doctor made his rounds with a faithful 
roan and buggy. 

Dr. Arthur D. Marsh, the present resident physician, 
came to Hampton in 1912. Aside from two years serv- 
ice in the World War, when he was replaced by Dr. L. F. 
Cochue, 1918 - 1920, he has been the leading physician, 
rendering faithful service to a wide territory. 

GOVERNOR CLEVELAND 

Hampton is justly proud of many of her sons, among 
them Chauncey F. Cleveland, whose tomb is in the old 
South Burying-ground. 

His public life began in his home town as a member 
of the militia, his "military bearing and affable m.anner" 
made him popular, and he advanced rapidly from the 
ranks to the highest military honor in the State, that of 
General. He was Speaker of the House of Representa- 
tives, Congressman, and Governor of Connecticut by 
1842. He was active in temperance, and an abolition- 
ist. He recommended care of the insane poor by the 
state. Through his efforts laws were enacted to prevent 
children under fourteen working more than ten hours a 
day, and a law requiring children to attend school at 
least three months out of the year. It may be said that 



The Legends below refer to the following 40a 

pages of pictures. 



40b 



BIGELOW 1 



1. Map— A. M. Litchfield Mills. 

2. Map — A. M. Litchfield, now torn down. 

3. Map— E. Parks. Owned by William Robbins. 

4. Map^ — S. G. Holt. Owned by FYed Greenman Estate. 

5. Map — M. L. Guild. Owned by Mrs. John Murphy. 

6. Map — H. C. Litchfield. Had blacksmith shop in basement. Owned by Stanley 
Weaver. 

7. Map — E. Ashley. Old Samuel Ashley Homestead. Owned by George Miner. 

8. Map — R. Ashley. Owned by Peter Engels. 



40c BIGELOW 2 

1. North Bigelow school house. Owned by Mrs. Morton Tiley. 

2. South Bigelow school house. Owned by Carleton Tenney. 

3. Map — A. M. Litchfield. Owned by Frank Styert. 

4. Map — Thompson. Owned by Miss Dora Thompson. 

5. Map — J. Fuller. Owned by Mrs. Alice Gary. 

6. Map — D. Fox. Owned by James Rodriquez. 

7. Map — H. H. Hammond. Girlhood home of Sarah Hammond. See The House 
The Women Built. Owned by William Lackenbauer. 

Site of the North Cemetery was given at beginning of Parish by Hammond 
family. 

8. Gravestone of Dec. Nathaniel Mosley, son of Priest Mosley and father of 
Uriel Mosley. See The House The Women Built. 



40d 

SOUTH BIGELOW 

1. Map — Neff. Owned by Theodore Levecque. Last house standing of beginning 
of Hampton settlement. 

2. Map — Evans. Home of 3 generations of Jewetts. Property of Howard Way. 
Burned in 1945. 

3. Lonely grave on the Canada Purchase lands. 

4. The late Chester Jewett standing by cellar hole of the home of first settler, 
David Canada. 

5. Map — Mrs. Jackson. "Popover Hill", owned by Raymond E. Ostby. 

6. Map — Avery. Many years the home of David Weaver. Owned by T. E. Stens- 
land. 

7. Map — J. Holt. Owned by Mrs. Helen Spaulding Fuller, granddaughter of 
Geo. Holt. This original Holt homestead razed many years ago. 

8. Map — E. Whiting. A Holt-Grinslit homestead. Owned by G. E. Merrill. 



GOVERNOR CLEVELAND 41 

he was one of the first promoters of free education, 
father of the state child labor laws, a friend of the poor, 
and of "the under dog." It is probable that the misfor- 
tune of William Ashley, — who, at the age of ten, lost 
the use of his right hand by injury while working in a 
Danielson cotton mill, — prompted Governor Cleveland 
to sponsor child-labor legislation. 

Most court cases of early Hampton were disputes 
over land, religion, or debts. Men were jailed for debt, 
and made to work out the amount. In one instance in 
Hampton a man's body was attached for debt, and re- 
moved from his home to prevent burial before the debt 
was paid. The poor widow went to the creditor, a prom- 
inent townsman, and after taking leave ot the body sim- 
ply requested it be given decent burial. When the 
creditor found that nothing could be gained, he returned 
the body to the family. The incident, tradition says, 
aroused Governor Cleveland, who was instrumental in 
bringing about the abolition of the poor debtors law. 

Another illustration of the cruel effects of the poor 
debtors law is shown in the case of Judge Thomas 
Chandler, a native of Woodstock. He had removed to 
Vermont in 1761, just in time to be involved in troubles 
between the King's Court and the Freemen, over setting 
off \^ermont from New York State. Thus gaining the 
reputation of Tory, did not help him in time of need. 

In his old age he became impoverished through land 
speculations, and was put in Westminster prison by 
his creditors. According to law, then, it a debtor died 
In prison, whoever removed the body beyond the 
grounds, could be regarded an accomplice to an escape; 
for if the body were buried by a friend, that friend 
would be responsible for the debtor's obligations. Under 



42 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

these conditions Judge Chandler lay in his cell, un- 
buried, for the indebtedness was too much for friends 
to pay. 

At last, when conditions had become unbearable, 
the jailor, Nathan Fisk, found a way out of the diffi- 
culty. Adjoining the jail-yard was the Westminster 
Burying-ground. A grave was begun in the jail-yard, 
and directed obliquely under the fence to a sufficient 
depth; during the night Fisk, aided by friends, buried 
the body in a rude pine box in the Westminster Church 
yard, by a pardonable evasion of the law. 

The irony of the tragedy was, that the Legislature 
had granted a release for Judge Chandler four days be- 
fore he died, but death came before he could be 
removed from prison. 

The CleveJands were descendants of Moses Cleve- 
land, an apprentice to a joiner, who came from England 
in 1648; and according to tradition, there was Pequot 
blood in the ancestor who came to Canterbury in 1703. 

As a young man Silas Cleveland in 1780, during the 
Revolution, went to Bethel, Vermont, looking for a 
homestead. While working in the woods with David 
Stone, they were captured by a band of Indians and 
taken to Montreal. Silas was so copper-colored the In- 
dians took a fancy to him and dressed him in paint and 
feathers. Six months later he was put by the British in 
a prison called the stone jug, a few month later was ex- 
changed, and returned to Hampton, where he died in 
1793. Stone was killed by the Indians. 

The Indian likeness was also strong in Moses Cleve- 
land, founder of Cleveland, Ohio; so much so that in 
Indian dress "they were ready to receive him as a 
brother." Of Governor Cleveland a story is told that as 



OLD FAMILIES 43 

a lawyer the opposing attorney challenged his knowledge 
of the law; Cleveland replied, "I want you to know that 
I am the best read lawyer in the state." The other re- 
torted, "Yes, and the only red lawyer!" 

Of Governor Cleveland, Joel Fox wrote: In 1840 
Dr. Price from Florida came to Hampton to secure a 
runaway slave girl, and made an effort to employ attor- 
ney Cleveland, who refused, saying he would not take 
the case if Price filled his office with gold. Price em- 
ployed Jonathan Welsh. Cleveland was moved to vol- 
unteer his services for the girl, and won her freedom. 

DESCENDANTS OF OLD FAMILIES 

Now, in 1940, there are still living in Hampton the 
following seventh generation descendants of pioneers: 
Farnhams, Fullers, Pearls, Holts, Ashleys — all origin- 
ally from Andover, Ipswich, and Rowley, Massachu- 
setts in 1712. The Jewetts came from Rowley about 
1732. The Burnhams came to Ipswich in 1642, first 
settled in Saybrook and Guilford, and came to Hamp- 
ton before 1750. The name Andrew Burnham appears 
among Captain Howard's company of Cavalry in 1758 
(French and Indian War). 

Of the Burnham descendants are Lester, and son, 
Jesse, now living on the old William Bennett place at 
the south end of Hampton street. The pioneer Burhams 
settled along the upper road to Scotland; the Joseph 
Burnham home is now owned by Mrs. Ellen Kemp, 
and the George Burnham homestead — once owned by 
Warren Burnham, then by Patrick McLaughlin — is 
now owned by a Mr. Wendziersyk. 

The early Farnhams (or Farnums) were among the 



44 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

largest land owners. They were descendants of Ralph 
Farnham, who came to Andover, Massachusetts, from 
Wales in 1658. The pioneer homestead is now owned by 
Mrs. William Harvey. 

In 1907 Hampton's old blacksmith shop closed. It 
had stood from earliest times at the north end of the 
long street. Henry Fuller, who began his trade when ten 
years old, was the last of the old time blacksmiths. As 
Benjamin Franklin said, "He that hath a trade, hath 
an estate; and he that hath a calling hath a place of 
profit and honor. A plowman on his legs is higher than 
a gentleman on his knees." 

JEWETT AND PEARL FAMILIES 

Benjamin Jewett II, a blacksmith, settled in Canter- 
bury in 1732. He became a follower ot Col. Godfrey 
Malbone, founder of old Trinity church (Brooklyn), and 
his name is inscribed on the tablet on the church. His 
eldest sons, Benjamin III, and Ebenezer, both black- 
smiths, settled in Hampton on the upper road that once 
connected Howard's \^alley and Clark's Corners. Eben- 
ezer served under Captain Josiah Hammond when Gage 
was fortifying Charlestown Neck. The war over, he 
married his captain's daughter, Abigail Hammond, sis- 
ter of Sarah Hammond Mosley of "The House the 
Women Built." Ebenezer settled homestead lands (given 
in return for military service) on the hills east of Hamp- 
ton, now Route 6. The old dwelling was bricked over 
in 1840. Elis son, Ebenezer III, was the forebear of the 
present Jewett and Pearl families. He was a wheelwright 
and carpenter. Wagons he built were in use a hundred 
years. He was builder of the Bell schoolhouse, and the 



OLD FAMILIES 45 

exhibition buildings at Brooklyn fair-grounds; also, the 
first framed house in town, the Asa Burnham homestead 
or better known as the Demming place. The date, 1823, 
is cut in the brick of one of the end chimneys. 

There was doubt as to the ability of young Ebenezer 
II to raise the new building, and a large crowd gathered 
to see it go up. Success and romance crowned the 
efforts of the young builder that day, for the building 
went up without a hitch; and here he met Nancy Jen- 
nings, the girl of his choice. Her father had jokingly 
told her that if the young builder, (whom she had not 
met), proved his ability, she might marry him. 

Their eldest son, Ebenezer III, spent most of his life 
far from home as a Baptist minister, but returned in his 
last years to the old Bennett homestead in Howard's 
Valley. His keen memory was a storehouse of folklore, 
and to him, the author, his daughter, is indebted for 
much information concerning early days. 

Allen and Lester Jewett, his brothers, lived near 
Clark's Corners. Allen purchased of Solomon Smith the 
old John Clark place on the "camel back" or Smith 
road, where he spent most of his life as a farmer, store- 
keeper, and station agent; for twenty-five years he was 
postmaster. 

Of his two sons, Wallace went to California; and 
Flmer has remained in Hampton. As a youth he taught 
local schools, and has long been a leader in public 
aflFairs. For some years he was station agent at Chaplin 
Depot. 

The Pearl families of Hampton are descendants of 
Timothy Pearl, pioneer of 1 712, through John and Maria 
(Jewett) Pearl, daughter of Ebenezer Jewett II. 

The late Austin Pearl was postmaster eight years 



46 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

during Wilson's administration. His two sons, William 
and Reuben, are veteran R. F. D. mall carriers. 

The two routes In Flampton were established In 
1903. Twenty-five miles a day was a hard drive, so two 
horses were used, alternating dally. 

William Pearl, Jr., is of the eighth generation to re- 
main in Hampton. 

A PIRATE STORY — BELIEVE IT OR NOT 

In late years the Jewett homestead has been known 
as the Cady place. Mr. Cady lived alone, and before 
his death In the Fall of 1939, he talked of pirate treasure 
buried on the place; for a man had appeared with an 
old map, and claimed descent from the buccaneer Teach. 
Landmarks were Identified; and agreeing to share the 
find, the men excavated a sizeable pit. One evening 
the man failed to bring the tools to the house as usual. 
The next morning at the pit Cady found the tools and 
his friend's boots, as though discarded In a hurry. 
Whether treasure was found Is not known. 

Why were pirates so far inland? Mr. Cady had the 
answer. Between 1713- 18 Edward "Blackbeard" Teach 
was pirating West Indies shipping, and he may have 
anchored off New London, come up the Nipmuck Path, 
either to reach Boston, or more probably evade pursuit. 
Near the Canada settlement the party crossed easterly 
to strike the North and South Road, later the King's 
Highway, which led to the Connecticut Path to Boston, 
or to double back to New London by the east route, 
originally the Tatnick Trail from Worcester to Norwich. 

That the landmarks co-inclde with the pirate's map 
is noteworthy; at least four are easily identified. In the 



A PIRATE STORY 47 

door-yard is the first marker, the stone shaped like a 
horse's head. Following a southeast-by-south line across 
the road the next marker is a boulder, perhaps chipped 
purposely, resembling a dog's head, pointing south. 
Crossing a small brook, and bearing to the right, is the 
fish's head; an eye, realistically placed on the low stone, 
looks directly to the pit just twenty paces due south. 

The wood's path is likely the old pioneer wagon road 
and may have been the Indian trail by which the pirate 
band crossed to escape pursuit. 

The pit presents a mystery. Fully eight feet deep, 
the walls are perpendicular slabs of granite, too well 
placed, seemingly, to have been natural formation. This 
vault measures about five feet square, and four feet 
deep. Mr. Cady said that timbers were rigged to hoist 
a flat capstone which topped the vault. 



CHAPTER VII 
THE HOUSE THE WOMEN BUILT 

WHILE Woodstock has its Pulpit Rock, Pomfret 
its Wolf Den, Brooklyn its historic churches, 
Canterbury its Crandall House, Windham its 
Frog Pond, Hampton has "The House the Women 
Built," a monument to the energy and courage of the 
women of the Revolution, and a tribute to the romance 
of Sarah Hammond and Uriel Mosley. 

Young Uriel had felled the timbers for his house, 
and returned the lumber from the sawmill to the site 
on land given by Sarah's father. Captain Josiah Mosley. 

All was in readiness when Uriel was called to arms 
and marched away in a company of Hampton men. 
The twenty year old bride-to-be, and future mother-in- 
law decided to build the house; and with the help of a 
one-legged carpenter, a broad-ax and chisels, the two 
women set to work. The day of the raising brought 
women in numbers. It is doubtful whether this event 
could be duplicated; maids and matrons, working like 
men, hoisted beams, and joists, which, mortised and 
pinned, went into place like clock-work. Their home- 
spun, ankle-length dresses of bright red, yellow and 
blue, contrasted pleasantly with the brown and black 
attire of the older women. 

On the cleared slope before the new house, a bounti- 
ful dinner was spread on rude tables. Mother Mosley 

48 



THE HOUSE THE WOMEN BUILT 49 

had dressed a sheep, a quarter of which the good Rev- 
erend had blessed for the occasion. No doubt he, too, 
was present, for he was Uriel's uncle, and it would be 
he who would say the long grace, at the head of the 
table. 

In the midst of this gaiety the hills re-echoed the 
sound of the post rider's horn, bringing them tidings 
from New London. In the excitement it was learned 
that young Uriel had been wounded in battle, and 
Sarah, the true Revolutionary maiden, mounted a horse 
and sped away to find her lover. 

Eventually she brought him to the House the Wo- 
men Built — they were married September 15, 1788 — 
and here they lived half a century, and reared their 
children. Uriel passed away before her, and she was 
granted a soldier's widow's pension, which she was not 
privileged to receive, as death claimed her the day the 
pension was granted. 

Uriel was the son of Deacon Nathaniel Mosley, 
whose memory would long since have been lost were 
it not for facts concerning his headstone in the North 
Burying-ground. 

The Nathaniel Mosley homestead stood on the east 
side of the street, south of the Governor Cleveland 
house. It passed to the ownership of strangers about 
the late nineties. 

APPROPRIATED A MILE-STONE FOR A GRAVE-STONE 

Much has been written about strange or ludicrous 
epitaphs; and Hampton has one in its North Burying- 
ground. On the western slope are many field stones 
used before 1800 as crude markers in family plots. Here 



50 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

for more than a century stood the Deacon Nathaniel 
Mosley stone, apparently no different than the others, 
cut in the Eighteenth Century pattern with the hideous 
face of a rising sun engraved near the top. 

Deacon Nathaniel, thriving farmer on Hampton 
Hill, was wont to haul his produce, beef and pork, to 
Boston with four-ox-team, more than seventy miles, 
taking a week for the round trip. On one of these jour- 
neys he brought home a mile-stone, had it cut and 
lettered, and set in his burial lot. The Deacon passed 
on to his reward in 1788. The riddle of how the pious 
Deacon came by the stone is hidden in the contradictory 
inscriptions; for a home-seeking woodchuck, not long 
ago, burrowed under the stone, and exposed an earlier 
inscription, that perhaps the Deacon did not intend 
for a postscript: 

In Memory of Deacon 
Nathaniel Mosley 

who departed 

This life March 

ye 3rd 1788 in ye 73 

year of his age 

Memorio Mori 

BleJJed are ye dead 
That dieth in ye Lord 
There works do follow 

with afuer reward 

upjfiouo^ ox 

pvo^ puvj^ jfi'J 
i^ojfoQ ox 

pvo}j puvjx jifSi^ 



THE HAUNTED HOUSE 51 

THE HAUNTED HOUSE 

There is scarcely a town in New England that has 
not some time in its history a legend of a haunted 
house. Hampton is no exception. Only the cellar-hole 
is left of the century-old gam brel- roofed house in the 
southern part of Howard's Valley, just east of the Three 
Bridges, on the road to Canterbury. For many years it 
stood empty, with sunken door-sills and gaping window 
frames. Tradition says that more than a hundred and 
twenty-five years ago a peddler was murdered in the old 
house; anyhow, he disappeared mysteriously, after hav- 
ing lodged in the house, and when uncanny sights and 
sounds were heard, his memory was revived — his un- 
easy ghost haunted the place. 

One story goes that a family had moved out because 
of the weird noises at night. One day, going into the 
cellar, the woman noticed a sword protruding from the 
thick walls of the chimney. Wondering that she had 
never noticed it before, she tried to pull it out; an awful 
groaning and shuddering sounded throughout the house. 
Terrified, she fled upstairs and told her husband, who 
went to the cellar, but failed to see the sword; although 
he had heard the groans and moans. Naturally, they 
moved out as soon as possible. 

The next family, the Ebenezer Jewetts, had even a 
more terrifying experience. Sounds such as the drip of 
water from the ceilings were heard at day and night. 
The front door, which opened into a small entry, could 
never be kept fastened all night, no matter what pains 
were taken to lock it securely. Nails driven over the 
latch would be removed; a knife placed as a wedge to 
prevent the latch being lifted, would also prove futile. 



52 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

the door was always found unlatched when morning 
came. 

In the night, all through the house, the latches would 
rattle mysteriously. Upon investigation, the rattling 
would cease, but commence in another part of the 
house. 

East of the entry opened a long room. Before the 
south, front window Mrs. Jewett kept her spinning- 
wheel. Her bed stood against the east wall, opposite a 
fireplace built into the big center chimney. One evening 
when some neighbors had come into the kitchen, she 
opened the door from the kitchen into this bedroom to 
take out an extra chair. Her seven year old daughter, 
Laura, followed, as did also the child's small pet dog. 
They were startled to see the bowed figure of a man 
peering through the window. In a second the figure 
seemed to come through the window, right between the 
spokes of the spinning-wheel, rolling over and over, a 
headless body of a man; it vanished with a "whishing" 
sound up the chimney. The child remembered the ex- 
perience perfectly, and her fright at the terrible sight. 
The dog bristled and barked; and the household was 
much upset, 

Mr. Jewett did not believe in ghost; he poohed at 
their story. But one night, some time later, he was 
awakened by something heavy falling on him from the 
ceiling. In horror he recognized the same headless, hairy 
thing that had frightened his wife and child. As before, 
it vanished in the fireplace. There was no longer any 
doubt, and the family moved at once. 



CHAPTER VIII 
NORTH BIGELOW — THE LITCHFIELDS 

NORTH BIGELOW MILLS were owned in 1800 
by Deacon Williams and his sons. The Williams 
home is the Dora Thompson house, east side of 
Hyde's Corner. The old Dorrance farm was on the 
northwest side of the Corner. Mrs. Dorrance was 
thrown from her wagon on the winding Bigelow Hill 
road and killed in 1840, the first highway accident, of 
record, on this dangerous hill. 

The last to operate the old North Bigelow mills was 
Jared Hyde, from 1890 to 1920. He owned the Dorrance 
farm. Besides operating the sawmill and gristmill he 
added a grocery store to his business. 

The man who brought real prosperity in his time 
was Colonel Andrew Litchfield (1801- 1890). He was 
born in Brooklyn, a decendant of John and Isaac Litch- 
field, pioneers on Tatnick Hill (1740), where for nearly 
two centuries the families cultivated one of the best 
farms in Brooklyn. Their original dwellings still stand 
on the hill, which has a background of historic lore, for 
the Red Men climbed its height to reconnoitre; and in 
Revolutionary days Lyon, the deserter, hid in a hillside 
cave — above the Israel Putnam Highway — which has 
since been called Lyon's Cave. 

Coming to Hampton as a lad of fourteen, in the year 
of the great hurricane, 1815, he became interested in 



54 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

lumbering. Millions of feet ot timber had been blown 
down, even as in the hurricane ot 1938. Upon reaching 
manhood, he acquired the sawmill property. Other mills 
on the pond were a sawmill, cross-cut shuttle block mill 
where apple-wood shuttles were made and marketed at 
Southbridge, Mass., a cider and shingle mill, and clover 
top mill (carried away by a freshet). Chaff from this 
mill was used on fields to produce the fine hay for which 
the valley was famous. There was a gristmill, corn 
cracker and bolting mill, besides the brickyard, making 
North Bigelow a thriving business center. 

The brick industry disappeared many years ago; the 
water supply, piped from the side of Hampton Hill to 
a trough near the barn, rounded out a century of use- 
fulness, for many teams plodding over the old dirt road 
drank in the shade near the Litchfield homestead. 

Colonel Litchfield's large barns were filled with fine 
stock, his granary with home-grown corn, and his or- 
chard bent beneath its luscious fruit. He was credited 
at one time as the largest land owner in town. He rose 
to high rank in the state militia. It is related that when 
he united with the Hampton church he remarked that 
he couldn't be more honest with his fellow-men, but 
with his God. In the Litchfield burying -ground, just 
south of the homestead, sleep five generations of the 
family. Fred Litchfield (1859-1918) was left fatherless 
by the Civil War, and was reared in his grandfather's 
home, whose property he inherited. 

An only child, Delia, lived upon the old homestead. 
Her first marriage was to William Weeks of Pomfret, 
who died in 1932. Her second husband was Alfred 
Vargas. She passed away suddenly in 1938, the last of 
her family. The only survivor of the family is the Rev- 



CAPTAIN JAMES STEDMAN 55 

erend Sherrod Soule, whose mother, Caroline, was Col. 
Litchfield's daughter. At the age of fourteen she was 
teaching the South Bigelow school. Dr. Soule's father, 
then the young minister, was the school visiter, and 
thus began their romance. 

Rev. Sherrod Soule spent much of his boyhood on the 
old Litchfield farm, where he shared in the labor. He re- 
calls plowing a four-acre field for buckwheat, with oxen, 
threshing with oxen, taking it to mill with oxen, and 
returning with the flour for cakes. He remembers as a 
youngster cutting thistles; mixing mortar in the brick- 
yard; and that the lovely panelling in the old Litchfield 
house was made from pine cut from the farm timber lot. 

Colonel Litchfield built the present library building 
for a home for his daughter and Rev. George Soule. 
There appears to have been no parsonage on the Hill 
at that time. Rev. Soule died in 1867. The property 
was sold to David Greenslit, and has remained in the 
family over half a century. Dr. Sherrod Soule received 
his schooling at Killingly high school, and was gradu- 
ated from Amherst College in 1 885, and later from Union 
Theological Seminary, in New York. His life has been 
one of usefulness in the ministerial world, and state 
Missionary Society. 

CAPTAIN JAMES STEDMAN — HEMLOCK GLEN 

Another oi Hampton's outstanding citizens was 
Captain James Stedman. He was captain of a Hamp- 
ton Company in 1776, and Nehemiah Holt was orderly- 
sergeant. i\t the Lexington alarm the company assem- 
bled at the meetinghouse for prayer, then marched to 
Pomfret after sunset to join others. Captain Stedman 



56 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

was at the battles of White Plains, and Harlem Plains, 
marched with Washington in his retreat through New 
Jersey, crossed the Delaware with him, and suffered the 
bitter winter at Valley Forge. Of the long march 
through New Jersey, Sergeant Holt wrote, "All night 
long Washington rode at the right of the column, a little 
in advance, but so near I could most of the time put 
my hand on the rump of the powerful gray charge upon 
which he rode, made restive by the cold sleet pouring 
down upon us, . . . Washington spoke scarcely a word 
during that dreadful march." 

Returning to his farm after the war, Capt. Stedman 
continued his trade of carpenter and joiner. As early as 
1750 he had made wooden clocks that kept good time, 
whittling the works out of hard wood, and smoothing 
the edges with a file; weights were held by cords of 
home-spun flax. History tells us that before 1800 most 
clocks were made in England, and assembled over here. 

No cases were supplied for these early clocks; the 
purchaser either made one, or hired a cabinet-maker, 
or simply hung the works under the full moon face on 
the wall. They were called "wag-on-the-wall" clocks. 
Wooden clocks were popular but the makers depended 
on peddlers to sell them. It is said that every family of 
substantial means after the Revolution had "a polyglot 
Bible, a tin reflector, and a wooden clock." With Yan- 
kee shrewdness the clocks were ''warranted, if well 
used." Prices ranged from twenty to forty dollars, and, 
as money was scarce, was often paid in barter, salt pork, 
and articles of home manufacture; and even mules were 
taken in trade, brought north and sold to farmers. 

Captain Stedman was town clerk and treasurer, and 
collector. He lived on his father's homestead on the 



The Legends below refer to the following 56a 

pa^es of pictures. 



56b 

SOUTH BIGELOW and HOWARD VALLEY 

1. Map— J. M. Smith, Howard's Valley. Birthplace of Gov. Cleveland. Owned 
by Edmund Osborne. 

2. Map — E. L. Beers. Before 1900 was home of Joseph Clark. Later Pish and 
Game Club. Razed in 1949. South Bigelow. 

3. Map— L. & S. E. Bennett, Howard's Valley. Owned by Wm. Henry Bennett 
Est. 

4. Map — Mrs. Searls. Owned by Carl Jewett. South Bigelow. 

5. Howard's Valley Church. Retains original lines and furnishings. 

6. Map— W. Greenslit. Owned by Sharon Brown. South Bigelow. 

7. Last of the horse and buggy days. Prank Smith going to Howaid's Valley 
Church. 

8. Map — W. Abbott. Owned by Mrs. Chester Jewett. 



HOWARD VALLEY 1 

1. Home of R. B. Eldredge, minister of Howard Valley Church 1856. Long 
owned by P. A. Burnham, grandson of Jesse Burnham. 

2. Map — J. Burnham used as summer home by William Potterton. Home of 4 
generations of Bumhams, whose ancestor, Ebenezer Burnham, came to Hampton 
from Ipswich before Oct. 30, 1734, the date they joined the Parish Chufch. One of 
Hampton's oldest houses. Home of Jesse Burnham 1797-1875, leading citizen, a 
Republican, Abolitionist, and Town Representative. Joined in founding the Howard 
Valley Church 1843. Jesse Burnham of Hampton Hill is 7th generation. 

3. Map— E. Greenslit, owned by R. Cleveland Hastings. See "Puller Inn" "The 
Old Ball". 

4. Map— P. Pamham. Patrick McLaughlin Farm. Owned by Mrs. Geo. Rupert 
Porter. 

5. Map— L. S. Atwood. Curtis Tavern Stand 1800-1845. Many years owned 
by Thomas McLaughlin, after 1900 by Henry Humes. Mention of it made in 1750. 
as a "Mansion House". Moved by John Holt a few rods north on Smith Road, 
and restored. 

6. Map — C. M. Cumins. Owned by Harold Chick. 

7. Map — Spaulding. Owned by Mrs. Evelyn Whiteside and Mrs. V. E. Cady. 

8. Howard Valley School. Summer home of Mrs. Beatrice Burnham McAlpine. 



56d 

HOWARD VALLEY 

1. Map — Eben Burnham. Owned by Raymond Rogers. 

2. Map — H. Smith. Owned by Hector Borell 

3. Map — Alfred Burnham. Owned by Hector Borell. 

4. Map — E. Starkweather. Owned by Philip Lamantia. 

5. Map — P. Parnham. Owned by Mrs. Wm. Harvey. 

6. Map— H. E. Snow. Owned by Wilfred Scott, poet of the Providence Journal. 

7. Map — D. H. Parnham, at the head of Shaw Lane. Owned by John Koski. 

8. Map — S. Fuller. House was owned by Geo. Nichols. Now Burned. Site of 
ancient Indian Village on eastern knolls of farm, located by Everett Griggs, 
Archaeologist, of Abington. 





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lilfU 








aWsrs5r?3^ * • «» i^s*" 'ST '^j^ 



CAPTAIN JAMES STEDMAN 57 

valley road, a short distance south of Hemlock Glen. 
The house still stands; maps of 1856 show it under the 
name of Louis Fuller. Three children were born to 
Captain James and Hannah Griffin Stedman, daughter 
of Deacon Ebenezer Griffin, a Hampton pioneer family. 

James Stedman died in 1788. He was the son of the 
pioneer Deacon Thomas Stedman, who settled in Hamp- 
ton in 1731, when James was five years old. There were 
eleven children, four of whom were born in Muddy 
Brook, Brookline, Massachusetts. Thomas Stedman 
purchased one hundred and fifty acres of Nathaniel 
Kingsbury, one and one-half miles northeast of the 
meetinghouse, where he built a two-story house. He 
deeded his farm to his son, James, and afterward lived 
with his son, Daniel, on an adjoining farm. Deacon 
Thomas was killed in 1775, at seventy-five, by falling 
from a load of logs, and wheel passing over him. 

Ebenezer Griffin, brother of Hannah Stedman, was 
the innkeeper at the home long owned by Alfred Kim- 
ball in northeastern Hampton. All that remains is the 
old-fashion garden run wild, and a stone chimney. A 
daughter, Hannah, born August 1, 1763, baptized Au- 
gust 1, 1763, married in 1785 Lieutenant Calvin Munn 
of Greenfield, Massachusetts. He entered the service at 
seventeen. He was with Lafayette in Virginia, and was 
at the evacuation of Yorktown, and the taking of Corn- 
wallis. He witnessed the execution of Major Andre. 
At one time he was drill-sergeant, and had in his squad 
one Robert Shurtlift, who served throughout the war. 
In reality Shurtlift was a young girl, Deborah Sampson. 
After the war she married a Mr. Garnett, also a Revo- 
lutionary soldier. After his death. President John 
Quincy Adams was active in getting her a pension. 



58 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

We know more of the life story of Captain James 
Stedman's daughter, Mary — born in Hampton, Janu- 
ary 16, 1772 — than of any other girl of the period. At 
the age of eleven, when her father was in the war, be- 
sides working in the fields with the hired women, she 
carded the tow for a web of cloth, spun and wove it, 
and carried it to Windham on horseback, where she ex- 
changed the cloth for six silver teaspoons — that are 
still heirlooms in the family. 

At twenty she married John Wilks Chandler of Pom- 
fret, whose busy life was cut short at thirty-eight by a 
hernia brought on from injury while sledding wood. She 
was left with eight children, and the ninth was born 
three months after the death of her husband. 

Then thirty-six years old, Mary Stedman undertook 
the management of three hundred and forty acres, 
stocked with fifty cows. With a good farmer for the 
outdoor work, and a colored woman in the house, she 
devoted herself to educating her children; all were 
trained to work. While her sons were in the fields her 
daughters attended to the household, spun and wove 
all their garments, and blankets for the home. Mrs. 
Chandler was above medium height, and an intelligent, 
energetic woman; she proved herself a capable business- 
woman, and a fine mother. She passed away January 5, 
1832, at sixty, at the Chandler homestead where she 
had spent most of her life. The homestead is on the 
Pomfret - South Woodstock road, and is now owned by 
General John Carson. 

THE BENNETTS 

William Bennett of Ipswich, Massachusetts, settled 



THE BENNETTS 59 

in 1736 on land south of Thomas Fuller, bounded west 
by the highway and east by Little River, where for cen- 
turies had been the corn fields of the Indians. 

A log cabin sheltered him the ten years he was clear- 
ing the land and making ready the timbers for the 
present dwelling, which, from sills to shingles was the 
labor of his own hands. Nails forged at the blacksmith 
shop, and small panes for the eighteen windows, were 
the the only outlay. Partitions were not set for the 
twelve rooms for many years; the house consisted of 
one great room with the bare stone chimney in the 
middle for warmth, and light by night. A broad stair- 
case on the east, over the cellar-way, led to the unfin- 
ished chamber. 

William Bennett died in 1766; a rough field stone 
in the South Burying-ground marks his grave. He, like 
a long line of descendants, was a leader in town and 
church. 

His son, Isaac, thirty, remained on the homestead. 
He was a veteran of the French and Indian War, and of 
the Revolution. He also belonged to the parish military 
company in 1758, when Connecticut sent five thousand 
men to war. Windham furnished seven companies; two 
of these went from her second society (Hampton). A 
troop of cavalry, under Captain John Howard, were: 
Thomas Brown, Jabez Fitch, John Warner, James Hos- 
ton, William Ripley, Henry Brown, Amos Clark, Jacob 
Waters, Isaac Barrows, Benjamin Hay ward, James 
Halkins, Amos Lawson, John Walden, Andrew Burn- 
ham, Joshua Lasell. Captain Durkee's Company: 
Lieutenant Jonathan Kingsbury, Sergeant William Holt, 
James Purdie, John Curtis, Daniel Dennison, John 
Hammond, John Greenslit, Corporal Jeremiah Durkee, 



60 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

Meletiah Bingham, Isaac Bennett, James Utley, and 
David Fish. 

Those were troubled days for the brave people of 
New England; not only Indian trouble, but earthquake 
shocks, as described by the Windham County Associ- 
ation in 1756, when a day of fasting and prayer was set 
aside in Windham County, because of "frequent and 
amazing earthquakes, strange, unusual and distressing 
war and awful growth and spread of vice, infidelity and 
iniquity." Some authors claim, and it seems reasonable, 
that it was an earthquake shock in the vicinity of the 
frog pond on that June night in 1758 when the good 
folk of Windham were frightened out of their beds, be- 
lieving that they were about to be attack by the French 
and Indians; they mistook the rumblings, and the din 
of frogs for battle cries of the enemy. (See accounts by 
Follette, and Peters.) 

Isaac Bennett was twenty at that time. He had re- 
turned after service, married, and settled on the farm. 
Before going to war again, he made his will, as follows, 
under date of May 8, 1776: "To my wife, Margaret 
Bennett, I bequeath the use of the east square room 
and garret room above in my dwelling house. (This 
room was not finished off before 1850.) A privilege of 
using the oven in the wall and one in the cellar. Suffi- 
cient fire wood cut for her room and brought in as she 
needs it, the privilege of having a good cow for her use 
winter and summer and 5 bushels of Indian corn a year, 
3 bushels of rye a year and 2 bushels of wheat, a suffi- 
ciency of beans, potatoes and turnips, a sufficiency of 
sugar and molasses, and in case of sickness a nurse and 
doctoring, one pair of shoes a year, 8 pounds ot wool, 
and 10 pounds of good flax yearly as long as she lives. 



THE BENNETTS 61 

also she is to have a horse to ride and a saddle for her 
to ride, also she is to have what cider, beer and apples 
she needs." 

To his daughters he willed sums not exceeding three 
pounds S. M., with request that each receive suitable 
house furnishings upon marriage (which meant wool 
and flax to spin and weave for blankets, etc., bedding, 
beds, tables, chairs, pewter, tongs, shovels, kettles, etc. 
Furniture was made from home timber, by a joiner 
employed by the month to make the girls' setting-out. 
Iron utensils were made at the blacksmith shop.) In 
case the daughters remained unwed they were to have 
a home in his dwelling. 

To William, the eldest, he gave the farm, tools, and 
stock; to other sons, the great Bible, law books, and 
thirty pounds S. M., to be paid when they came of age. 

For his son, Isaac II, then an infant, he provided 
for his common school education, and learning a trade. 
Isaac later became a cobbler, and although blind for 
twenty years, lived to great age. He died in 1861. 

Isaac Bennett lived to return from many battles. 
He carried on the farm in summer, and in winter ped- 
dled the wooden, grand-father's clocks made by Captain 
James Stedman, to Virginia. The trip was made in a 
thorough-brace wagon, drawn by two horses in tandem. 
It was a cumbersome, four-wheel creation, scow-shaped, 
built tight for fording streams, with a movable seat 
where two could ride. 

A thrifty man, Isaac Bennett kept a ledger of every 
transaction. Nearly all his business was in "barter and 
trade"; a record of business for one year showed only 
$80, cash. His records also contained more than debits 
and credits, as the following show: "Sympathy is the 



62 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

alphabet of love, it makes no friendship with the angry 
man"; and (1772) "There was the most severe drought 
ever known in this part of the world — no rain did fall 
until ye 7 day of Oct/' 

Mr. Bennett died in 1817. His grand-sons, Samuel, 
and Isaac III, spent lifetimes on the farm. They were 
reverent men, and every Sunday morning the faithful 
horse was harnessed and left hitched in the old shed 
while they made ready for church; and on their return 
the horse again stood in the shed while the brothers 
brushed and put away their clothes for the next meeting. 
Thus a suit lasted a lifetime, and was used at burial. 

Samuel Bennett was a teacher of the old school- 
master type, and taught the big boys of the neighbor- 
hood in winter. His one son, William Henry, like his 
father, also taught the district schools; later attending 
Foster High School on Hampton Hill, and was gradu- 
ated from Yale Law School in 1868. During college 
vacations he taught a Latin Select School in Scotland, 
for youths preparing for college. Mr. Bennett went 
west, and became a lawyer. He died in Minneapolis in 
1908. His family accompanied the body to Hampton to 
be laid to rest beside his ancestors. 

Few young men have gone out into the world who 
clung so closely to old associates, or who better loved 
the hills of Hampton than did William Henry Bennett. 
For many years after the death of his father, Samuel 
Bennett, the furniture in the old home was kept in 
place, though in charge of tenants. 

Extract from the Abner Follett account of the Frogs 
of Windham: 

''The event took place in June, 1758. The pond 



THE FROGS OF WINDHAM 63 

was n't dry, as it is generally believed, being on a never- 
failing stream. Frogs didn't leave the pond, and there 
was no evidence of fighting, as many supposed. Many 
dead frogs were found about the pond the next morn- 
ing with no visible wounds. The outcry was loud and 
extraordinary; noise seemed to fill the heavens, thunder- 
like, some nearby declared they could feel their beds 
vibrate under them. Knowing it came from the pond 
they were not as frightened as the inhabitants of the 
village. The real cause will never be known, many 
opinions were entertained at the time; some attributed 
it to disease." 

The Follett family settled in Windham on the stream 
now called "Frog Brook." Abner Follett owned and op- 
erated a paper mill at the pond (1806), and gave as reli- 
able an account as any of the "Fight" at the Frog Pond.* 

The Rev. Samuel Peters of Hebron gives another 
account: "Windham resembles Rumford and stands 
on the Winnomantic River. Its court-house is scarcely 
to be looked upon as an ornament. The township forms 
four parishes, and it is ten miles square. Strangers are 
very much terrified at the hideous noise made on sum- 
mer evenings by the vast number of frogs in the brooks 
and ponds. There are about thirty different voices 
among them; some of which resemble the bellowing of 
a bull. The owls and whip-poor-wills complete the rough 
concert, which may be heard several miles. Persons ac- 
customed to such serenaders are not disturbed by them 
at their proper stations; but one night in July 1758, the 
frogs of an artificial pond, three miles square, and about 
five from Windham, finding the water dried up, left the 



* William Wc»vcr'« Paperi 



64 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

place in a body, and marched, or rather hopped, towards 
Winnomantic River. They were under the necessity of 
taking the road and going through the town, which they 
entered about midnight. The bull frogs were the leaders, 
and the pipers followed without number. They filled a 
road forty yards wide, for four miles in length, and were 
for several hours, in passing through the town, un- 
usually clamorous. The inhabitants were equally per- 
plexed and frightened; some expected to find an army 
of French and Indians; others feared an earthquake 
and dissolution of nature. The consternation was uni- 
versal. Old and young, male and female, fled naked 
from their beds with more shriekings than those of the 
frogs. The event was fatal for several women. The men 
after a flight of half a mile, in which they met with 
many broken shins, finding no enemies in pursuit of 
them, made a halt, and summoned resolution enough 
to venture back to their wives and children; when they 
distinctly heard from the enen-^y's camp these words: 
Wight, Elderkin, Dier, Tete. This last they thought 
meant treaty and plucking up courage they sent a tri- 
umvirate to capitulate with the supposed French and 
Indians. These men approached in their night shirts 
and begged to speak with the general, but it being dark, 
and no answer given, they were sorely agitated for some 
time betwixt hope and fear; at length, however, they dis- 
covered that the dreaded inimical army was an army of 
thirsty frogs going to the river for a little water. Such 
an incursion was never known before or since; and yet 
the people of Windham have been ridiculed for their 
timidity on this occasion. I verily believe an army un- 
der the Duke of Marlborough would, under like circum- 
stances, have acted no better than they did." 



CHAPTER IX 

FULLER'S INN, "THE OLD BALL," ON CIDER LANE 

THIS fine old "salt-box" house, now owned by 
Cleveland Hastings, was built by Thomas Fuller, 
and is the oldest tavern-house in Hampton. Pio- 
neer Thomas Fuller, in 1715, purchased of Thomas 
Bingham of Windham one hundred acres, which, accord- 
ing to old Windham records, Book E, page 52, lay on 
"both sides of Little River, bounded east by the com- 
mon (undivided land), west by the highway (upper road 
Howard's Valley)." The one highway through the new 
settlement was surveyed in 1706 from the southwestern 
boundary of Windham (Scotland) to the northeastern 
bounds (Appaquag), now Route 97, along which pioneer 
homes were built. 

The Fuller cabin was built on the Nipmuck Path 
and early became the stopping place for homeseekers. 
His one neighbor, Stephen Howard, lived about a mile 
west of him. Easterly lay an unbroken wilderness to the 
Holt Brothers' homestead. Beyond them lay the tract 
owned by Samuel Ashley. The present Fuller property 
of North Bigelow was originally part of the Ashley plot. 

Thomas Fuller married Martha Durkee of W^indham 
Village. By a first marriage he had five sons, who helped 
him to conquer the wilderness and build a commodious 
dwelling which was licensed for public entertainment 
in 1716. 



66 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

His son, Stephen, built a dwelling on his father'^s 
farm, adjoining north, which place remained in the 
Fuller family more than a century and a half (now 
owned by George Nichols.) This section of the farm is 
of special interest, for, according to Everett Griggs, 
Abington archeologist, the knolls east of the highway 
were the site of an Indian village, which tradition has 
credited to the valley. Here the tribe cultivated the 
river lands, and in winter were sheltered by the Cowan- 
tic Ledges; a fireplace excavation made there by Mr. 
Griggs yielded valuable and interesting relics. 

Upon Thomas Fuller's death, his widow, Martha, 
was granted a license in 1722. In 1742 she married 
Thomas Farnham, Jr., of the Farnham homestead on the 
the upper road (the Mrs. William Harvey place), which 
undoubtedly is one of the oldest homes in town. 

In 1760 Deacon Ebenezer Bingham was granted a 
tavern license, and thereafter the inn was known as 
Fuller's, Bingham's, or the Old Ball. In Connecticut Inns 
we also find a story of the two strangers who stopped 
there, and asked for doughnuts a yard long and cider to 
wash them down. Hampton's old-timers recount that 
the host quickly swung a great kettle of lard over the 
fire, while dough was roiled to the required length, and 
doughnuts a yard long were served at the Old Ball that 
day. It was a favorite prank to call for something the 
Inn could not serve, or to have the party large enough 
to "eat them out of house and home." 

About 1800 the property passed to Elijah Greenslit; 
and the old sign, a golden ball, remained suspended be- 
tween two elms until the middle of the nineteenth cen- 
tury. The house was later owned for thirty years by the 
family of Reverend R. J. Nichols, a minister of the 



THE COFFEE HOUSE 67 

Christ-'ian faith, who served for twenty years, up to 1890, 
in the Howard's Valley Church. 

The second inn on Cider Lane (1760-1828) once 
known as the Coffee House is now owned by Cleveland 
Hastings. Captain John Howard of the French and In- 
dian and Revolutionary Wars, leading churchman and 
citizen, opened his house for public entertainment dur- 
ing a period when the roads were heavily travelled by 
emigration and marching companies of soldiers. His 
house stood just off the old turnpike on the present 
road to Hampton Hill. 

When turnpike days were over, the property was 
owned by Deacon Oliver Ingalls of the little Valley 
church. Deacon Ingalls was a well-to-do man; it is tra- 
dition that when he moved into the old tavern stand 
he came with the largest six-horse load of furniture 
ever brought into town. 

A postoffice sub-station was opened at Howard's 
Tavern soon after Pomfret's postoffice was established 
in 1795. Mail was carried weekly by Gideon Popple, 
employed by Howard, making the trip astride a jackass 
and his long legs drawn up to keep his feet off the 
ground. Popple lived in a small house west of the Val- 
ley schoolhouse on the Cowhantic Lane. In 1828 the 
postoffice was moved to the Walcott Mill company's 
store at the foot of the hill west of the three bridges; 
the store burned in 1893 and the postoffice was moved 
to Humes Corner. Isaac Hawks was the last postmaster 
in 1903. Mail was delivered to this office thrice weekly 
from Hampton Hill. 

The Zaphaney Curtis Tavern (1800-1845) on the 



68 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

Providence - Hartford turnpike was well patronized in 
stage-coach days. According to oldtimers, patrons were 
sometimes obliged to sleep under their wagons by the 
roadside, content to be fed from the great kitchen. The 
fine ball-room was also popular, especially for sleighing 
parties, when young people came in bob-sleds, four- 
horse sleighs filled with straw, cutters and pungs, ate, 
and danced to the fiddling of Thomas NefF. 

Of a quaint sign that hung before the door — a man 
coming out of the little end of a horn — it is said to 
have been suggested by Mrs. Curtis as a personal reflec- 
tion on her husband's business ventures. 

After the Civil War many Irish came to Hampton, 
among them were Thomas, Michael, and Patrick Mc- 
Laughlin. Michael bought the old Henry Huntington 
farm at the head of the Cowhantic Lane; Patrick, the 
Burnham homestead north of his brother, while Thomas 
purchased the Curtis Tavern house. He cultivated the 
farm for many years, and was a useful citizen in town 
aflFairs. Being the eldest son, he had received a good 
education in Ireland, and was a remarkable penman. 
The farm has since been owned by Mr. and Mrs. Henry 
Humes. 

A story has been handed down of a certain tavern- 
keeper in coaching days who collected the price of din- 
ner in advance; and then, as the guests were seated, 
the stage-driver would drive up and blow his horn for 
departure, so that passengers would rush out leaving 
their dinner uneaten. One day a stranger remained at 
the table while the stage whirled out of sight with the 
undinnered passengers. After an interval the stranger 
called the landlord's attention to the fact that the silver 



DOMESTIC BLISS 69 

spoons were missing. A messenger was dispatched to 
overtake the stage, while the stranger finished his din- 
ner. As the coach again drew up to the door the guest 
thanked the landlord for recalling the coach, and re- 
marked that he would find his spoons in the coffee pot. 

DOMESTIC BLISS A CENTURY AGO 

Henry B. Huntington owned the farm at the top of 
the hill above the Cowhantic Ledges, now owned by- 
Charles Chester. The fine old house has long since 
burned. The Huntingtons were a proud family, and re- 
sented the marriage of Henry with the daughter of 
Willis, the- toll-gate keeper. After some years, the dis- 
approval led to a divorce in Brooklyn court; and the 
couple drove homeward in separate carriages on the 
best of terms. In the separation he had given her a 
considerable sum of money. They were remarried im- 
mediately, he saying that this time he had married a 
rich wife. Lie was for some reason familiarly known as 
Santa Ana Huntington. 

In 1860 the following were residents in Howard's 
Valley: General Isaac Howard, Reubin Tingley, Joel 
Searles, William Snow, Nathan Harris, Dyer Holt, Oli- 
ver Ingalls, Theodore and Philander Fuller, Rowland 
Gardiner, Charles and Joseph Spaulding, William Ben- 
nett, Esq., Isaac, Samuel and Edmund Bennett, Eben- 
ezer, Elijah, John and Lyman Greenslit, Albert and 
Hurlburt Greenslit, Reverend George Greenslit, Elder 
Alfred Burnham, Albert, John, Philetus, Festus, Henry, 
Septimus, George and Jesse Burnham, Henry Hunting- 
ton, Thomas Barber, Philetus Farnham, Thomas and 
George Hurlburt, Henry Sanford, Leonard and John 



70 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

Cocking, Stephen, Edmund, John, George and Charles 
M. Comins, George D. Spencer, Reverend Richard B. 
Eldredge (pastor of the Valley church), Archibald Olds, 
Hosea, Jared and A. Fry Hibbard, Bingham Fisk, and 
Lester Apley. 

Of this list, Charles Spaulding was the last survivor, 
living for more than eighty years in the little red house 
by the school. In his last years he suffered blindness; 
he passed away in 1904. 

The present Vinigrad place, originally part of the 
(Thomas Fuller) Cleveland Hastings farm, was owned 
in 1856 by the Greenslit family, and in 1870- 1910 by 
John Braney. His son, Patrick, will long be remembered 
as handicapped by blindness for twenty-eight years. A 
son, the late Michael Braney, owned the Edward 
Greenslit farm on the south slope of Hampton Hill. 

Most of these men lived in the factory village near 
the three bridges. About twenty houses remain in the 
district; and the school is closed for lack of pupils, 
where once was an attendance of eighty. 

An early church called the Burnham meetinghouse 
stood between the turnpike and the Brook road until 
about 1920. It had long been used for a dwelling. 

The Howard's Valley Church was built as a Baptist 
meetinghouse about 1843, and was later known as a 
Christ-'mn church. About 1915 it was returned to the 
Baptists. Since 1933 services have been maintained by 
the Danielson Baptist Church. The house owned by the 
Fred Burnham estate was the residence of the pastor, 
R. B. Eldredge in 1855. When the church was organized 
thirty of the members bore the Burnham name. Other 
preachers were Reverends Isaac and Henry Coe. 

At one time there was a fine choir led by Jacob 



LATER INDUSTRIES 71 

Kimball of Brooklyn. Among the choir members was 
Mary Starkweather of the old Starkweather farm on 
the hill east of Curtis Tavern (Humes Corner). She 
married her neighbor, James Burnham, son of Jesse 
Burnham, whose farm adjoined her father's on the 
south. She lived many years on the homestead, which 
later passed to her son, Fred A. Burnham, who also pur- 
chased his grandparent's (Starkweather) farm. The 
Jesse Burnham homestead has been restored and is now 
the summer home of Dean William Potterton. 

LATER INDUSTRIES IN HOWARD'S VALLEY 

Ludwig and Erastus Walcott, brothers, bought land 
and water privileges, dammed the Little River at the 
three bridges, and built a cotton mill and company 
store. Some years later the postoffice was kept there, 
until the property was destroyed by fire. 

In 1828 Charles and Edward Comins bought part of 
the old Howard farm and erected two building for 
wagon and harness making. This was later the home 
of the Mr. Miller, who was murdered in 1922, and the 
house burned to cover the crime. 

A woolen and satinet mill owned by John Conklin 
stood at the site of Skinner's Pond in 1850. A story 
handed down of John Conklin, a man of considerable 
means, recounts that on one of his frequent business 
trips to New York his boat was wrecked. Not hearing 
from him, the family supposed he had drowned. Friends 
gathered for the funeral, after which the family set 
about to divide the property. In the meantime Conklin 
returned, and stood outside the window where he lis- 
tened to the service and the disagreement over the 



72 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

property. He put an end to the squabbling by announc- 
ing to the mourners that he intended to keep his 
property for some time yet. 

THE CONGDON PLACE — HOWARD'S VALLEY 

James M. Congdon purchased the old Howard farm 
in 1874, removing from the Elliott section of Pomfret 
(the present Albro place) because of damage when the 
railroad right-of-way was laid through his farm. He 
was followed by his son, Joseph, long one of Hampton's 
most respected citizens, and his grand-son, Frank W. 
Congdon, who for several years was assistant superin- 
tendent of the Capitol Building at Hartford. The Cong- 
don farm was a model of thrift and neatness before the 
coming of rural electrification. 

James Congdon built the present farmhouse, on the 
east side of the road nearly opposite the old dwelling. 
Here, too, was the toll-gate tended by Willis, when the 
turnpike diverted main travel over the Brooklyn road. 

Benjamin Howard purchased in 1709 a vast track 
between Merrick Brook and Little River. In 1713 his 
son, Stephen, took possession, and after him Captain 
James Howard who not only improved the fine valley 
farm but developed the water privilege on the property 
with grist, cider, and saw mills, the first in the parish. 
He also had a tannery on the lane to the mills; and on 
this site John Conklin's woolen and satinet mill stood 
in the fifties. Later Theodore Fuller ran a cider mill, 
owned after 1900 by John Skinner. 

Floods in 1936 carried away the dam and last land- 
mark of Howard's Valley industries, after the mill privi- 
lege had served the community nearly two centuries. 



72b 



The Legends below refer to the following 72a 

pages of pictures. 



CLARKS CORNER 

1. Map — Misses Smith. Owned by Mrs. Viola Clapp. 

2. Map — S. Robinson. Owned by Mrs. John Hammond. 

3. Allen Jewett homestead. Map — Mrs. Smith. Owned by Plourde Bros. 

4. Map — B. B. Potter. Owned by Albert Hoffman. 

5. Map — Asa Burnham. Owned by E. A. Rome. 

6. Map — Alva Bm-nham. Now owned by Edward Bishop. 

7. Liberty Pole Sign Post Restored by Elmer Jewett. 

8. Clark's Corner School. 

9. Map — J. G. Clark Tavern. Burned in 1946. 



72c NORTH HAMPTON 

Windy Hill — one of Hampton's most beautiful views. 

1. Map — C. H. Davis. Owned by J. M. Perillo. 

2. Map— D. Clapp. Owned by H. H. Dobberteen. 

HEMLOCK GLEN 

3. Map — J. Greeley. Owned by Geo. Miller. 

4. Map — L. Rockwell. Owned by Mrs. Lena Wilson. 

5. Map — E. Ashley. Owned by Ferdinand Jacobsen. No. Bigelow Rd. 



GOV. CLEVELAND HOMESTEAD 73 

The property now belongs to Cleveland Hastings, who 
has razed the old house where the miller lived. 

TOM SMITH PLACE — GOV. CLEVELAND HOMESTEAD 

Here Frank Smith and his mother lived for many- 
years, on the lane once a travelled road connecting 
Howard's Valley with the Canada neighborhood. The 
house is claimed to have been built by an ancester of 
Governor Cleveland; and it is said that Governor 
Cleveland was born on the discontinued road between 
the Smith and Poloski places. 

Fuller is a noble name in Revolutionary history in 
Hampton; seventeen cousins by that name were on the 
muster roll. It is claimed that Sergeant 'Bijah Fuller 
could throw any man in the army except Ralph Farn- 
ham, "and he carried him off on his back when he was 
wounded at the battle of White Plains, when the enemy 
was close upon them, and the bullets were falling like 
hail around them." 

The Fuller family came from Salem and Rehoboth, 
Massachusetts, ot English and Scotch extraction. Their 
forebear Robert Fuller sailed for America in 1656, and 
was the first, and for many years the only bricklayer 
and builder of brick houses in all New England. 

David Fuller, his descendant in the third generation, 
born 1710, settled in Hampton before 1741, where he 
married Hannah Fuller. They were the parents of Serg- 
eant Abijah, born in Hampton in 1753, died 1835. He 
served under General Israel Putnam, and had charge of 
throwing up the earthworks the night before the battle 
of Bunker Hill. In private life he was a farmer and 



74 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

cooper, and a deacon of rhe Congregational Churcli; it 
was said that he could pray just as well as he could fight. 

Sergeant Abijah was the grandfather ot the late 
Lucius Fuller o\ Putnam, who died in 1933, and who 
during his long life developed one of the leading insur- 
ance businesses in eastern Connecticut, and had the first 
telephone in town. His father, Lucius, also an insurance 
man, liv^ed in Tolland. In that period it was customary 
to tack a steel plate over the door when a house was 
insured. One such marker in the possession of Elmer C. 
Jewett of Clark's Corners, reads, under date of 1872: 
"Insured — Tolland". The policy shows that the insur- 
ance was written by Lucius Fuller of Tolland. 

In the middle of the nineteenth century, Loren 
Rockwell carried on extensive saw-mill, grist-mill, tan- 
ning and curing business at Hemlock Glen. 



CHAPTER X 

STORIES OF HAMPTON— BY JOEL FOX 

THAT the Constitution is not a new dispute is 
shown in a story from one of Hampton's old- 
timers, Joel Fox ot Bigelow. At a townmeeting in 
Hampton Captain Harvey Fuller, who died in 1860, 
was opposed to the Constitution when it was accepted 
in 1818, declaring, 'T want to see who the men are who 
dare to vote for the Constitution," and called for a 
rising vote. David Fox, Joel's father, said, 'T second 
that motion; I want to see how many men there are 
here who dare to vote against the Constitution." The 
vote was, of course, a majority tor acceptance. 

The Buttons were one of the oldest families in town, 
and influential in town affairs for nearly two hundred 
years. Joel Fox gives us the following story of Charles 
C. Button, proprietor of the Inn in 1800, and also of a 
harness business on Hampton Hill; his shop was oppo- 
site the church. Mr. Button, because of close work, had 
put on glasses. A neighbor, John Lincoln, noticed this, 
and asked in surprise, "Button, do you have to wear 
glasses?" "Yes," was the reply, "my eyesight is failing 
me." Said Lincoln, "My eyesight is as good as ever it 
was. Why, I declare, there's a mouse running around 
the belfry of the church!" Button, putting his hand to 
his ear in a listening pose, said, "I can't see him, but 
he's there — I can hear him run." 



76 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

The last of the family now remenihered was Lindon 
Button, who lived in the dwelling now owned by Hamp- 
ton's present physician, Dr. Arthur D. Marsh. He was 
an old fashion horse-trader, and many were the stories 
told of his sharp bargains. 

In the time of Governor Cleveland, Hampton had 
a male quartette, John Cleveland, son of the Governor, 
Worthing Button, William Mosley, and Gilbert Snow. 
On summer evenings they would climb to the church 
belfry and sing. They might be styled Hampton's first 
"broadcast" as they could be heard distinctly the 
length of the street. 

The first day of May was always Training Day. The 
townsfolk would gather on the lot at the southwest 
corner of the highway (where Route 6 turns west) to 
see the militia drill to the music of fife and drum, and 
to watch with pride the horsemanship of their kinfolk. 
who were fortunate to be officers. 

The first grand celebration on Hampton Hill was 
the semi-centennial July 4, 1826, when forty-two vet- 
erans of the old Revolutionary company paraded under 
their old leader, Abijah Fuller, with Nathaniel Farn- 
ham as drum-major, and Joseph Foster and Lucius 
Favill as fifers. Although Joseph Foster did not belong 
to the original company, he was no less appreciated, for 
he was one of a family of twelve sons who fought in 
the strife for freedom. 

In 1828 there was a widespread temperance move- 
ment in Windham County. In 1830 each town was 
represented with a society; Hampton's numbered eighty 
members. By 1840 temperance meetings were being 



STORIES OF HAMPTON — J. FOX 77 

held in all the churches. At a Hampton meeting, Eben- 
ezer Jewett III, then fourteen, signed the first pledge, 
which he always kept. About that time Hampton voted 
"no license" and has ever since been a dry town. Rum 
had been sold in the grocery stores, making them unfit 
places for women and children to enter. It is tradition, 
Taintor once remarked, "A rum-seller should get rich; 
it's such a dirty business!" 

Hampton is built upon hills which are unrivalled 
in beauty. Robinson Hill in the western part, rises 827 
feet above sea level. A fine farm once crowned this 
summit where now stands Cartwright Sunset Cottage, 
built in 1910. Kimball Hill, on the Brooklyn line, rises 
766 feet. This was settled by the Kimballs who came 
with the Grows from Ipswich in 1732. Here five genera- 
tions of Kimballs lived up to 1862. It was the birthplace 
of George H. Kimball, who for many years owned the 
Ebenezer Grifiin, and Hezekiah Hammond farms. He 
spent the last twenty-five years of his life on the Woods 
Hill Farm in Brooklyn. In 1895 Jerome Woodard 
bought the Kimball farm and brought it to a high state 
ot cultivation. But like many of our fine old homesteads, 
the century-old house was destroyed by fire in March, 
1940. 



I 



CHAPTER XI 
WINDHAM COUNTY HURRICANES 

N the old Grove Street burying-ground is a stone 
with the following inscription: 

In Memory 

of Susana Brown^ 

wife of Othniel Brown 

Born 1763 

Died Aug. 23 J 786 

Aged 23. 

That awful day ^ 

The hurricane^ 

When I was in my priyne^ 

Blew down my house 

And I was slain 
And taken out of time. 

The above is the only record we have of this hurri- 
cane, although history makes mention of a hurricane 
at that date. 

According to Winthrop' s Journal there were hurri- 
canes in 1635 and 1638 that equalled in severity the 
one of September, 1938. They were preceded by heavy 
earthquake shocks, recurring at intervals for twenty 
days. Thus, when the first settlers penetrated the vast 
wilderness of western Massachusetts and Connecticut, 



WINDHAM COUNTY HURRICANES 79 

they found the Indian trails badly blocked with fallen 
trees, and the hills swept bare, making settlement easy 
on the hilltops. 

It may have been at the time of these earthquakes 
that Alexander's Lake (Mashapague) was formed. An 
Indian legend runs that where the lake now is, was a 
sandy, pine-clad hill. The tribes had gathered for a 
powwow, but the Great Spirit was angry because of 
their wickedness, and caused the hill to "give way" and 
sink; water came up and all were drowned, except an 
old squaw left standing on the hilltop. Loon Island. 
The legend true or not, the fact remains that for many 
years, in the deepest part of the lake, tops of great 
pines could be seen in the water, and in recent years 
branches from these trees have been recovered. 

We also have record of tremendous gales in 1723, 
1786, 1804, 1818, 1821, 1836, 1841, 1851, 1859, 1860, 
1869. The gale of 1815 seems to have been the hardest 
known up to 1938. In many respects the devastation 
was similar in Providence, and W^indham County. As 
towns were not so numerous in 1815, and seashores not 
developed, the damage could not have been so terrible. 
Seaboard grass and vegetables were killed by salt spray, 
which was driven inland many miles, and wells were 
rendered unfit for drinking. 

Damage done in Windham County in 1938 will not 
be overcome in half a century. Much of the natural 
beauty has been destroyed; floods have washed away 
picturesque dams, oftentimes a century old. Giant trees 
have fallen, that were long the pride of New England. 
The autumn was without the usual foliage, for leaves 
were either stripped off, or ruined by the wind and salt 
spray far inland. Property damage was immense. 



80 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

As in 1938, churches were daiiiaged or demolished 
in the hurricane of \S\5. Phiinheld meetinghouse was 
demolished, but rebuilt in 1818. Woodstock, Hampton, 
Canterbury, Westniinster, Abington, Thompson, and 
Ashford steeples went down. The Pomfret, and Kiil- 
ingly (Putnam Heights) churches were badly damaged, 
and replaced by new; the former in 1832, the latter, 1818. 

Hampton, Woodstock, Abington, and Thompson 
churches likewise lost their steeples in 1938. In Brook- 
lyn, the church built by Israel Putnam lost its steeple, 
which has been replaced and the church restored, but 
the Congregational meetinghouse was so badly dam- 
aged that it was razed to the ground. The Westheld 
Church in Danielson lost its steeple, since replaced. 

Ashford church was wholly demolished, and has not 
yet (1940) been rebuilt. Eastford, and Putnam Heights 
churches were not damaged. 

WINDHAM COUNTY CHARACTERS 

Among many prized documents, the writer has a 
paper written by William Henry Bennett, a Hampton 
boy, who was graduated from Yale in 1867, and later 
became an attorney in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Writ- 
ten in a clear hand, the paper reads: 

T/je Old Dam Man 

Wm. H. Bennett October 1860. 

While I was endeavoring to give you a short 
sketch of this well known pitiable person, he is sit- 
ting before me, enjoying the warmth of a glowing 
{\Yt ... a form tall and gaunt, slightly bent, the 



WINDHAM COUNTY CHARACTERS 81 

frosts ot sixty winters have changed the once glossy 
black hair to snowy whiteness, a countenance pale 
and emaciated, with lines of sorrow and hardship, 
with dull meaningless eyes, which always seem 
fixed on vacancy. . . . His limbs clad with gar- 
ments whose darns have given him the name of 
"Old Darn Man". He has wandered around the 
countryside for more than thirty years, depending 
on charity for his few wants, and an occasional 
visit to his relatives in the eastern part of Massa- 
chusetts, whose efforts to induce him to remain 
with them . . . are totally useless, . . . and he 
wanders away again and pursues his endless round 
of travel, which formerly extended over New Lon- 
don and Windham Counties, and adjacent portions 
of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. . . . and 
stopping only to obtain food and lodging, appar- 
ently enjoying nothing, pursuing no object, thank- 
ful for any kindness . . . and repaying the giver 
with a low bov/, and "many thanks, kind friend". 
His true name is George Thompson, and he was 
a native ol Taunton, Mass., but his relatives now 
reside in New Bedford. He was a merchant by pro- 
fession, and it is reported that he possessed talents 
of a high order (some say he was a good violinist). 
He at an early age sought the hand of a young and 
amiable lady in marriage, his suit was accepted 
and the nuptial day drew near. But alas for human 
foresight, ere that day came the bridal robe was 
exchanged for a shroud, the eyes that a few days 
ago sparkled with hope were closed, and the limbs 
animated with elastic spirit of youth were straight- 
ened for the grave. She was borne to the tomb. 



82 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

and as the clods tell on her cofhii and shut out the 
blue sky . . . and bus\ world, despair fell upon 
his heart, and he turned away hopeless. He wears 
the garments designed for his bridal until they pre- 
sent only darned patches, and it is said, intends to 
wear them as long as he lives. 

Thus his singular appearance instead of creat- 
ing pity as it should is ridiculed by many, and he 
is harshly bidden to return to his friends and not 
eat the fruits of the labor of others. But let us not 
condemn him too harshly, because the Giver of All 
Good may deprive us of the light of reason, and 
leave us to wander in mental darkness until death 
comes to end our misery. 

The Old Dog Man, Old Blue Bag, and Eggelston 
followed the day of the Darn Man. The Dog Man may 
have been so named for his wont to pick up stray dogs, 
sometimes selling them, his only livelihood. 

Blue Bag carried his worldly goods in a blue cloth 
bag over his shoulder; a harmless fellow, who made 
regular trips through the neighborhood, filling the wood- 
box where he called, then waited to be fed. He was very 
clean, would wash his clothes in the brooks, and dry 
them on the bushes. In mud and slush he would go 
barefoot to save his footwear. 

Old Eggelston, though honest and harmless, was un- 
tidy. He came to the door regularly spring and fall. It 
was said that he was from a good family, but that 
scarlet fever had affected his mind. He would say, 'T 
am not to blame for being a fool, am I ?" One winter 
he froze his feet, and came back to our home in Hamp- 
ton in a pitiful condition, and was cared for. Later, he 



OLD CARD WRIGHT 83 

returned and paid his benefactress by saying, "You are 
the only Christian I have ever met." 

Old Card Wright 

In his day he was counted one o\ Putnam's moneyed 
men. Yet his wealth was not apparent as he drove about 
with an old sway-backed horse and delapidated wagon, 
gathering garbage for his swine. Around his old hat was 
a cord that once belonged to a bathrobe. In summer he 
always went barefoot. 

His philosophy of life and death was expressed by 
the lines: Going, but don t know where, on his tombstone. 
"Them's true words," said Wright, "but there ain't 
many tolks got honesty and courage to say the same 
thing." With great care he had a fine bust of himself 
cut in his monument. The stone is near the front of the 
yard, and the strong features of the image can plainly 
be seen by passers-by. The keen eyes seem to gaze be- 
yond the world he knew so well, to the world he was 
"going to". The inscription reads: 

Phineas H. Wright 

Born in FitzWilliams, N. //. 

April J, 1829 

Died in Putnam, May 2, 19 IS. 

After the monument was completed and properly set, 
Gard dreamed that he could not enter heaven with his 
beard parted; so, at a cost of $400, a sculptor bunched 
his whiskers on the stone. The large grave is bricked 
up; so, as he said, the earth would not crowd him, and 
he would have room to turn over and move about. He 



84 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

placed demi-johns of gin and whisky in the grave when 
it was made, some fitteen years before he died, tor the 
men who would bury him. 

His mother and sister are buried in the same plot. 
His father, a gold hunter, died in Stockton, California 
in 1849. The family was poor, and from youth Wright 
had to work hard. He claimed that he broke the first 
earth for the old Air Line Railroad. He also had worked 
as hod-carrier, lor seventy cents a day. Alter many 
years he dealt in lumber, and by his frugal habits and 
industry amassed a fortune of ? 125,000. 

He was disappointed in love in his younger years, 
and was a woman-hater. He wrote ream.s of verse on 
the perfidy of woman, and used as a slogan, "Never 
beat by a man, but by a woman." He lived in a plain 
house, with his niece as housekeeper. She cut his hair, 
shaved him, and washed his face and hands for him. 
As a reward he left her the bulk of his property. 

To the City Directory he gave his occupation as, 
"having no business but minding my own." 

Under his buggy seat he kept a "little brown jug" 
which was filled in Webster, never in Putnam. He re- 
membered (according to old-timers) a prank played on 
him by "the boys". They grew weary of his asking them 
to "set 'em up", so one night they set him up to one too 
many, and when he sobered up he found him.selt in a 
coffin packed in ice. 

Thrifty, he gathered hay from fence corners and 
roadside for his horse, salvaging what others wasted. 
This habit, in youth, while employed by George Morse, 
Sr., at the old Bundy brickyard in Harrisville, led to an 
accusation of taking away good brick; he was sentenced 
to attend Sunday School, barefoot, through the season. 



GURDON CADY 8^ 

Gurdoyi Cady 

In the days of the old square dance one of the most 
famous ot Windham County's dance prompters was 
Gurdon Cady of Central Village. The present Abington 
Grange hall was built in 1880 to hold the crowds that 
followed the dances when R. L. Bullard fiddled and 
Gurdon Cady prompted. 

When the gay company was on the floor, all would 
shout, "All ready, Mr. Cady!" It was a real art to dance 
to his instructions; and it a mistake was made, all had 
to begin over again, as he sang in perfect rhythm: 

Balance the lady at your left, 
Swing the old man's daughter; 

Leave her alone and swing you own, 
The old man swings his daughter. 

And then on to 

Down the center away we go. 
Come right back and don't be slow. 

Old Zip Coon, French Four, Money Musk, The Jim 
Jam, and Pop, Goes the Weasel, and break-neck jigs 
kept the "old timers" limbered up. Many men eighty 
could dance a break-down in Gurdon Cady's day. Most 
of his time was taken up in fiddling and prompting, but 
he also owned a fine farm, and was very proud of his 
cattle. 

He placed his own monument, on which, beside his 
name and dates, (born August 15, 1822; died March 3, 
1897), was inscribed a picture of his first cow, and her 
record : 



86 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

Rosa, my first Jersey cow 
Record — 2 lbs., 15 oz. batter 
From 18 qts., one day's milk 

A fiddle is also inscribed on the opposite side of the 
stone. The monument can be easily located down the 
outside, right-hand drive in the Evergreen Cemetery in 
Central Village, Connecticut, 



CHAPTER XII 

CLARK'S CORNER 

THE one industry of Clark's Corner was a tin 
shop. Old families were Clarks, Jewetts, Martins, 
and Neffs. The Cady house still stands on the 
brook road. The Martin house, once one of the finest 
farms in the section, is now a deserted homestead, since 
the hurricane of 1938. The late Frank Martin of Willi- 
mantic was the last of the family to reside there. 

Clark's Corner took its name from Jonathan Clark, 
(descendant of the first settler, John Clark), who was 
one of the early settlers; his homestead was the old 
Allen Jewett farm, where he built the first sawmill on 
Merrick Brook. 

Jonathan was a famous character, carpenter and 
builder of bridges, not only in Windham County, but 
also in western Pennsylvania. His fame was noteworthy 
as is shown by the following story of a Hampton boy, 
who, when asked by the minister, who made the world, 
replied, "Jonathan Clark, he makes all things." 

He also kept a diary of all Hampton events, cover- 
ing half a century, a copy of which is in the Town 
Clerk's Office in Hampton. 

The fine, old Jonathan Clark tavern-house is now 
owned by James Oliver. It was forty years in building, 
and was completed in 1844. 



88 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

On the corner where he hved Jonathan CLark kept 
a Stage Coach Tavern. He erected a Liberty Pole 
(1849), which not only proclaimed him a member of the 
Free Soil Party, but also supported a signboard with 
seven hands pointing seven index hngers westward, 
giving distances to Llartford, South Manchester, Willi- 
mantic, New Boston (North Windham), South Coven- 
try, Coventry, and Chaplin, under the he3.d\ng Free Soil 
S/dge Daily. No towns or mileages were given eastward, 
although the route ran from Hartford to Providence. 
No doubt Jonathan was an extremist in supporting the 
western cause. He was a staunch Van Buren man in the 
Free Soil Party of 1846, which opposed the extension of 
slavery in the Territories. The Free Soilers merged with 
the Republican Party in 1856; thus we iind Windham 
County's last Liberty Pole was erected by a pioneer in 
the Republican Party. 

The pole was replaced in 1893, and again in 1917 
and dedicated to the cause of Liberty. Unfortunately it 
was felled three years ago by a wreckless driver, but re- 
set by the State Highway Department through the pa- 
triotism and efforts of Elmer C. Jewett, Clark's Corner, 
and re-dedicated on July 4, 1939 with appropriate ex- 
ercises. The pole is crowned with a shining ball that was 
tinned, originally, by the village tin-smith of Clark's 
Corner. The signboard has each time been replaced with 
a duplicate of the original put up in 1849. 

Windham County patriots in 1776 on Killingly Hill 
had raised a Liberty Pole, which, during the Revolution, 
was used as a signal station. Smoke from a kettle of burn- 
ing tar hoisted to the top could be seen for miles around. 
Southwest from Killingly Hill another Liberty Pole was 
erected on Liberty Hill, Columbia, then called Lebanon. 



OTHER LIBER'l'Y POLES 89 

OTHER LI HER r^' PULLS AND WHAT THEY MEANT 

Prior to the Revolution, poles were erected in various 
places in the northern colonies, and dedicated to the 
Immortal Goddess of Liberty. In his address in 1775, 
Dr. Warren called tLem "your adorned Goddesses of 
Liberty." 

Calkin's History oj Norwich has an interesting account 
oi Liberty Poles. On Norwich Town (jreen about 1764 
was raised a Liberty Pole, or Liberty Tree, as they 
chose to call it. Its size was the pride of the town. No 
doubt it was comparable to the eagle-crowned seventy- 
hve-foot pole removed in the city of Buffalo, N. Y., 
July 4, 1939, when its age rendered it unsafe. 

The Norwich Liberty Tree stood adjoining Peck's 
Tavern, decked with "standards and appropriate de- 
vices, and crowned with a cap"; and a tent or booth 
called a pavilion, was erected under it, where news was 
received and discussed, and speeches made, almost daily, 
again t the oppression of the Stamp Act. 

On June 7, 1768 at Peck's Tavern the election of 
John Wilks to the English Parliament was celebrated. 
An ardent friend of Freedom, he made himself obnoxious 
to the ministries as publisher of the North Briton in an 
editorial called No. 45. At the entertainment, f^ags, 
plates, bowls, tureens, tumblers, and napkins were 
marked "No. 45 Wilks and Liberty." The Liberty Tree 
was bedecked with a f^ag emblazoned with the same 
emblems. 

"Wilks and Liberty" was familiar in Boston and 
Norwich as in London. "To our forefathers," Calkin's 
Llistory says, "the highest personification adopted was 
calling their magnificent Pole a Liberty Tree. They did 



90 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

not worship Liberty . . . but cherished it as a principle." 
Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1774, erected a pole 
on her town square with a i1ag and motto, "Liberty or 
Death". To make this symbol more realistic, they de- 
cided to move the Rock to rest beneath the pole. In the 
attempt the upper part oi the Rock was found split 
from the base, probably by frost action. The upper part 
was removed to the Square where it remained until 1834, 
when it was moved to the front area oi Pilgrim Hall. 
This date may have marked the removal ot the pole 
from the oldest town square in New England. i\gain, 
in 1880 the historic Rock was restored to its original 
foundation, as the result of contusion when strangers 
visited Plymouth. A monumental canopy over the Rock 
was replaced in 1920 with the present portico, and en- 
hanced by extensive landscaping along the shoreside. 

Might the visitor, as he surveys the historic marker, 
reflect upon the inscription on the marble obelisk over 
the grave of Plymouth's second Governor, William 
Bradford — on Burial Hill, high above the bay, the 
Rock, the Square — which reads: 

Do }iot basely relinquish what our fathers 
with difficulty have obtained. 

In 1764 the statement was made that "North Amer- 
ica's Iviberty is dead." The people replied, "She is dead, 
but happily she has left one son, the child of her bosom, 
prophetically named Independence, now the hope of all, 
when he shall come of age." 

In 1766 Boston lighted the first Liberty Tree. It was 
a day of rejoicing; for the colonies, after two years of 
protest, had forced the King to abolish the Stamp Act. 
Bells were rung, the meetinghonse steeple was bedecked 



OTHER LIBERTY POLES 91 

with banners, pennants floated from house-tops, and the 
"Liberty Tree, itselt, was decorated with lanterns until 
its boughs could hold no more. ... At evening the 
town shown as though night had not come. . . . Dur- 
ing the day all prisoners of debt were released by sub- 
scription."* 

Boston led the fight against the Stamp Act. On the 
memorable August 14, 1764, an effigy of Oliver, who 
had been appointed Stamp Master, was hanged from a 
bough of a stately elm, the pride of the neighborhood, 
standing near what was then the entrance to the town. 

Secretly the effigy had been made by seven "sons of 
Liberty," all "fiery haters of the King — Benjamin Edes, 
the printer; Thomas Crafts, the painter; John Smith, 
and Stephen Cleverly, the braziers; and the younger 
Avery, Thomas Chase, Henry Bass, and Henry Welles." 

Throughout the day the "grotesque spectacle" hung 
on the tree, while crowds gathered in Boston. Chief 
Justice Hutchinson ordered the colonel of the militia to 
beat an alarm, but the "drummers were in the mob," 
and then "Hutchinson, himself, with the sheriff, went 
out to disperse the crowd," but "no man would give 
way," and Hutchinson, surrounded, was obliged to run 
the gauntlet, "escaping with one or two blows." 

"At evening the multitude, moving in the greatest 
order and following the image borne on a bier," marched 
down the main street, through the old State House, and 
under the Council Chamber, shouting, "Liberty, prop- 
erty, and no more stamps!" After demolishing the frame 
of the new Stamp Office, which Oliver was erecting, they 
burned the effigy on a pyre in front of his home on 
Fort Hill. 



# BaDcroft'j History, Volume V 



92 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

Subsequently Oliver was forced to march out to the 
old elm, (thereafter called Liberty Tree) and under the 
bough from which his efHgy had hung, was compelled to 
sign a statement to the efi^ect that he would sell no more 
stamps. So ended the first episode in Freedom's battle. 

CONNECTICUT'S STAMP ACT REBELLION— 1765 

In wealth, population, and military resources, Con- 
necticut was second only to Massachusetts. However, 
her citizens were reluctant to be involved in legislature 
for fear of losing their Charter. Thus Stamp Master 
Jared Ingersoll, of New Haven, was asked privately to 
resign; he refused, saying he would "see how the Gen- 
eral Assembly was inclined." This was exactly what the 
cautious wished to avoid, for it would lead to conflict 
with Parliament. 

Ingersoll was disliked, and was accused of "trying 
to stab his country." Ironically it was noted that his 
initials were the same as those ot another traitor, Judas 
Iscariot. 

Having been in Boston during the stamp roit, Inger- 
soll anticipated a similar outbreak. In company with 
Governor Fitch, "a luke-warm Royalist," he set out for 
Hartford to put himself under the protection of the As- 
sembly then convening. Near Weathersfield they were 
met by five hundred farmers and freeholders, from New 
London and Windham, riding two abreast, armed with 
freshly-barked cudgels, provisioned for an eight-day 
march, and led by Colonel Israel Putnam and Captain 
Robert Durkee in full military uniform. "They opened 
and received Ingersoll, and then to the sound of trum- 
pets rode forward" to Weathersfield. "There in the 



CONNECTICUT'S REBELLION 93 

broad main street, twenty rods wide, . . . the caval- 
cade halted," and bade Ingersoll to resign. 'Ts it fair," 
he asked, "that the counties of New London and Wind- 
ham should dictate to all the colony?" His arguments 
were in vain, and he was forced to resign, and to write 
a declaration that it was his own free act. 

The cavalcade, which had increased to a thousand 
men, then escorted Ingersoll to Hartford, where, within 
hearing of the Legislature, he was compelled to read 
his declaration. 

They, ot whom it is recorded, "Better men never 
walked in glory behind a plow," rode home to their vil- 
lages. It is to be regretted that we have no record of the 
Pomfret men who were members of this group. But this 
we do know — where Col. Putnam led, Pomfret followed. 

This was a critical period for the colonists, for the 
power of the British Oligarchy was at its height, under 
the revolution of 1688. The king subdued, a system of 
taxes was imposed on America with the following re- 
sults: these products of the colonies could not be 
exported — tobacco, cotton, wool, indigo, ginger, fustic, 
or other dyeing woods, molasses, rice, beaver, peltry, 
copper, ore, pitch, tar, turpentine, masts, yards, nor 
bow-sprits, coffee, pimento, cocoa-nuts, whale-fins, raw 
silk, hides, nor pot, nor pearl ashes, to any place except 
to Great Britain, not even to Ireland. No foreign ship 
could enter a colonial harbor. In all respects Great 
Britain was the sole market and storehouse. 

Dependent on their flocks, the colonists could not 
use a ship, or boat, carriage, or pack-horse to cross 
from one province into another. They could not land 
produce from harbor islands, nor bring it across a river. 
Manufacturer of beaver hati was forbidden; no hatter 



94 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

could employ more than two apprentices, and they 
must serve seven years. No American hat could be sent 
from one plantation to another, or "loaded on any cart, 
or carriage, for conveyance." 

The same rule applied to wood, coal, slitting mills, 
steel furnaces, and plating forges. Tilt-hammers were 
prohibited as nuisances, while duties were collected on 
all foreign goods imported. 

In truth American Liberty was dead, but the Spirit 
of Independence was thoroughly alive. Connecticut de- 
clared "their freedom came from God, to be defended 
by their lives." In 1766 Israel Putnam rode all over 
eastern Connecticut to determine how many men could 
be relied upon, and reported back ten thousand men 
available for defense. 



CHAPTER XIII 
NORTH-WESTERN HAMPTON 

THE northwest part of Hampton was sparsely set- 
tled before 1800. Benjamin Chaplin, son of Deacon 
Benjamin Chaplin, took up land on the west side 
of the Nachaug and cleared his homestead. He lived 
single, and supported himself by making baskets and 
wooden trays. In 1747 he married Mary Ross, a widow, 
and soon after acquired more land, paying for it in 
prospective wheat, at a bushel an acre, and wooden 
trays. His was the first industry at South Chaplin. He 
owned seventeen hundred and sixty-five acres, mostly 
in Hampton. The river crossed his land in nine places. 
(Nachaug means "crooked river".) The house burned 
in 1930. 

Benjamin Chaplin was a good and enterprising man. 
He attended worship in Mansfield, traveling the six 
miles on horseback with his small daughter who jumped 
down to open barways, for only footpaths ran across or 
between farms to the meetinghouse green. 

Deacon Chaplin died in 1795. In his will was a be- 
quest for building a meetinghouse within a mile and a 
quarter of his dwelling. There seems to have been much 
delay, for ths building was not ready for occupancy un- 
til September 14, 1815. It was described as situated on 
Chaplin Hill "on the west side of the road, west of the 
gate letting into Captain Hough's north pasture." In the 



96 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

construction of the building Chaplin manifested "a pro- 
gressive spirit by enacting that seven hours should con- 
stitute a day's work, pay for a man's labor 10 cents an 
hour, oxen 6 cents an hour, for use ol cart 6 cents, sled 
3 cents an hour." Services had been maintained for 
years in the old South Chaplin schoolhouse, conducted 
by the Reverend David Avery, who married Hannah, 
daughter of Deacon Chaplin. The Reverend Avery was 
the first pastor of the Chaplin Society organized in 
1809. His daughter married James Howard, who op- 
erated a sawmill at South Chaplin. In this mill the 
timbers were sawed for the new church. At this period 
a minister received six dollars a Sunday, with his horse's 
keep, or three hundred dollars a year and twenty cords 
of wood. Chaplin was incorporated into a town in 1822. 

NORTH-EASIERN HAMPTON 

The Grow Meetinghouse was crowded each Sunday. 
To the congregation the introduction of our type of 
hymn was an inspiring attraction, "The Sabbath," a 
hymn written by John Newton in 1779, was indeed a 
real expression of their devotions: 

Safely through another v/eek, 
God has brought us on our way; 

Let us each a blessing seek, 
Waiting in His courts today; 

Day of all the week the best, 
Emblem of eternal rest. 

That and the old Baptist stand-by: 

Oh, how happy are they. 
Who their Saviour obey . . ." 



NORTH-EASTERN HAMPTON 97 

echoed from the old meetinghouse door. For a century 
or more the Grow Baptist Church prospered. Deacon 
Thomas Grow, whom our grandsires remembered as fur- 
nishing doughnuts and gingerbread, made his home 
(now the Elmer Stone farm) a favorite haven in the 
cold seasons; the meetinghouse, as were all early houses 
of worship, was unheated or very poorly heated. 

The meetinghouse has long since disap})eared, and 
only a remnant of the foundation wall can be seen on 
the east side of Highway 97, a few rods south of the old 
Grow homestead. 

Deacon Thomas Grow was born in 1743, one of five 
sons of Thomas Grow, the first settler. He was a soldier 
in the Revolution. The Grows were pioneers in defense 
of the doctrine of religious freedom. Thomas, Sr., was 
among the first families belonging to the Abington 
Parish in 1751. 

Prior to the erection of the Grow Meetinghouse, 
Thomas Grow opened his home for services. His son, 
William, studied for the ministry, and was the first or- 
dained pastor of the Grow church in 1776, remaining 
until 1783, when he removed to New Hampshire. Gifted 
with power and ability, he was, as we would say today 
perhaps, "too modern," for we are told he "greaved the 
sperit of his breathern^' and his labors were not alto- 
gether harmonious. 

Ebenezer Grow, son of Thomas, Sr., served through- 
out the Revolution, much of his enlistment under Gen. 
Israel Putnam, and died in 1827, aged seventy-seven. 
His home was at the top of the hill at the town line be- 
tween Hampton and Pomfret. On his land is the old 
Grow-Cady Cemetery — the first in south-western Pom- 
fret — where many of the Grow family rest with many 
other pioneers. 



98 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

The ianilly first settled in Woodstock before coming 
to Pomfret. James Grow, cousin of Thomas, settled 
"one mile west of Pomfret Center." He was a farmer, 
then a schoolmaster, and Baptist minister. From 1788 
to 1805 he was pastor of the Hampton Grow Church. 
He was ordained at Gary Schoolhoiise, September 9, 
1805, and became the first pastor of Pom.fret Baptist 
Church. During his labors at the Grow Meetinghouse 
in Hampton, he often conducted meetings at Ham.pton, 
Pomfret Landing, and Gary Schoolhouse, making the 
round on horseback. 

About this time a pound was ordered built, between 
Mr. Weld's place and the main street. The walls were 
six feet high and four feet thick; bound at the top, and 
finished with four timbers hewn ten inches thick, linked 
together, and with a gate four feet wide. It was built 
to withstand the most unruly animal, and the ravages 
of time. This pound remained in fairly good condition 
until about 1918, when the stones were used in con- 
struction of the State road to Hampton station — a 
desecration to be deplored. 

By the beginning of the nineteenth century, farming 
in the region had returned to normal, and good breeds 
were being imported. After the hurricane of 1815 new 
homes were being built on the street and in other parts 
of the town. Philip Pearl was appointed agent to see 
that no one kept transients. We are not told whether 
this was to protect the business of the tavern-keepers, 
or to prevent the harboring of tramps. In 1788 the 
town poor were bid off, "to be kept in sickness and 
health," and the bidder was allowed the benefit of their 
labor. A special sum also was allowed to pay doctor's 
bills, for many of the poor were sickly or aged. 



NORTH-EASTERN HAiMPTON 99 

The old military spirit ever shown in Hampton was 
kept alive in the especial pride for the company of gren- 
adiers, formed soon after the Civil War, and sustained 
with much spirit for many years. Size and strength were 
indispensable qualifications to this honored company: 
all members were at least six feet tall. 

In 1789 Shubael Simons built a dam across Little 
River in the picturesque valley northeast of the Hill. 
This grist-mill and lovely pond, overshadowed by grace- 
ful hemlocks, and the miller's weatherbeaten dwelling, 
were long a rare picture of early Hampton. The prop- 
erty is now owned by Mr. Hall, and, remodeled and 
improved, it nestles still beneath the hills, the mill pond 
unchanged. 

In 1844 the sect known as the Millerites had gained 
many followers in Hampton. Among them were some 
of the first families. 

Two amusing incidents among this sect, who pro- 
claimed the second coming of Christ and the end of the 
world, have come down to us. Certain members of the 
Kimball family robed themselves in white on the day ap- 
pointed for the "Judgment," and spent the day on a shed 
roof awaiting the "last Trumpet"; so, also, Reuben 
Elliott — who then lived on the present Postemski place 
on the Hamton-Pomfret line — dressed in white and 
chmbed a tall pole to be ready for the "coming." 



100 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

Rev. Ludovicus Weld Homestead, situated on the old road north 
of the Catholic Church, where it overlooks the northeastern hills. 

Rev. Weld, Hampton's third minister (1792-1824), a man of much 
ability, had four sons, of whom two were notable, Louis as Principal 
of the American Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb, and Theodore as an 
early leader in the Anti-Slavery movement. 

That mention is made of Mrs. Weld is quite unusual, "being a 
woman of much intelligence and accomplishments and distinguished 
for eccentricities and excellencies of character"— Larned's History. 

It is tradition that when the Weld Homestead was snow-bound and 
men came to shovel out. Rev. Weld would treat them with the West 
India goods he always kept in the cupboard under the stairs. 

Rev. Weld's successor, Rev. Daniel G. Sprague, on the contrary, 
was an ardent leader of the great temperance movement of that period. 

The Weld homestead is on the map of 1856 as M. Perkins. Present 
owner- 
Robert Holt, of Andover, Mass., whose name is on the first church 
list in Hampton, came in 1722 into the wilderness, bringing the mill- 
wright tools for the purpose of building a saw mill and corn mill on 
Ceclar Swamp Brook, on the southern boundary of his 100 acre tract. 
The long deep ravine through which the brook courses to Little River 
afforded a natural mill site. 

His land was bounded on the south by Windham's first highway 
of 1704, which crossed the triangle between the two present roads by 
the burying ground, where an ancient stone bridge, that once bridged 
a rivulet remains, although the great stones have been set apart now 
for drainage. From the stone bridge it crossed the cemetery knoll, where 
a section of the old walled-in road reminds us of the time when the only 
crossing of Cedar Swamp Brook was an Indian fording place on the 
Nipmuck Path (South Bigelow Road). The burying ground was laid 
out in 1715 (see Larned's History of Windham County, vol. 1, page 95). 
The original laying out was 20 rods front, to which 8 rods front was 
added about 1850. 

Robert Holt was twenty-six years old when with his bride, Rebecca 
Preston, he built his cabin near the site where he eventually built a 
grist mill, high walls of which still stand, adjoining the bridge. 

His first substantial house was a rough board structure, near the 
brook, built 30x12, with 12 foot stud, the roof and sides covered with 
two foot boards eight inches wide, and one inch thick, laid as shingles. 
There were eight small windows, two on a side, a north front door 
and an east kitchen door. A great stone chimney filled the center, with 
big kitchen fireplace on the east side. There were two rooms, with at- 
tic above, reached by very steep stairs, near the north door. The in- 
side walls were finished with perpendicular wide oak boards. A base- 
ment cellar opened towards the brook. 



NORTH-EASTERN HAMPTON 101 

In this primitive dwelling, Robert and Rebecca Holt lived com- 
fortably, and six children were born to them. After a few years of hard 
labor and planning, a new gambrel roofed house was built across the 
driveway, opposite the first dwelling. This too had a great stone chim- 
ney in the center, with but one fireplace, that in the east kitchen, which 
was the center of all home comfort. 

The old house stood until in the 1880's when it was taken down by 
Joseph Clark, the then owner. It was still in good condition, and had 
long been used as a shop. Descriptions of this last pioneer house of 
Hampton were given by Mrs. Chester Jewett, daughter of David Weav- 
er, who was born in the little gambrel roofed house, and Mr. Thomas 
Riley, two of Hampton's old residents. Mr. Riley states that when he 
was a small boy before 1870, the first grist mill by the bridge was still 
operating. 

A second gambrel roofed house was built by the Holt family, a 
few rods north on the pleasant hill above the brook, also of the architec- 
ture of before 1750. It is now owned by County Commissioner Carl 
Jewett. 

This second gambrel roofed house stood near the road, which was 
then included in the old Fiske Road, which according to tradition, was 
once a section of an Indian Trail that had connected the Natchaug River 
in Chaplin with the Quinebaug River in Canterbury. The Canadas, 
Hampton's first settlers, followed this trail to Little River. 

In 1789 Jedediah Holt leased a mill privilege to Thomas Stedman, 
for a bushel of corn, a barrel of cider, or the equivalent in money (Town 
Record). This mill was down the brook, east of the first little house, 
and is remembered by Mrs. Chester Jewett. The old millstones were 
removed by Joseph Clark, and used as door stones at the south door. 
They were salvaged by the Fish and Game Club, and will be used again 
when their new club house is built. 

A small stream, on maps as Holt's Brook, empties into the head 
of the old saw mill pond. There have been five dams built on the brook, 
two for grist mills, one for a sawmill, one for irrigation of the Wolcott 
Cary place, now the property of the Fish and Game Club (the irriga- 
tion ditches can still be traced), and further upstream to flood a cran- 
berry marsh, on what was once known as the "cranberry farm," now 
owned by Thomas Riley. 

Abiel Holt, brother of Robert, came first into the settlement in 1718, 
and purchased 100 acres of land. Abiel chose the eastern slope of the 
hill. Mr. and Mrs. Ray Fuller, descendants of the Holt family, live on 
homestead lands. 

Not until after Hampton became a town was the road built be- 
tween Hampton Hill and the Cedar Swamp Brook. One of the first 
acts of the new town was to "procure a deed of the trodden path that 
leads from Hampton to Scotland, where it crosseth individual lands." 



102 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

This was the road through Howard's Valley. At that time the first 
bridge was built over the brook by the burying ground, and when the 
present bridge was built, nearly 150 years later, the original foundations 
were found to be intact. 

On the west side of this road, near the brook, once stood the first 
South Bigelow schoolhouse, built in 1762. For several years after the 
new school was built, the old building was used by a sect known as 
the Varnumites. Varnum was a magnetic personality attracting many 
people. He claimed to have received special revelations from God, and 
at one time succeeded in obtaining a horse from a partisan by claim- 
ing that the Lord had revealed to him that the man would give the 
animal to him. 

Varnum required his converts to make full confessions of sins in 
public, regardless of what the "sin" might be, adding spice to many 
of his meetings. Ebenezer Jewett III, as a boy, often attended the meet- 
ings "for the fun of it." He delighted to tell of sitting beside a Var- 
num follower one night, who put his hand on his head to keep him 
quiet, and as they rose to sing the old time hymn "Here I raise my Ebe- 
nezer," brought young Eben to his feet by the hair of his head. 

Varnum finally went to Ohio to establish a New Canaan. Some 
Hampton people followed him, only to return disappointed. 

On the map of 1856 the old schoolhouse is shown as a dwelling 
occupied by Alva Burnham. For many years the site was marked by a 
growth of wild roses. 

In 1810 Hampton carried on much agriculture, with dairies pro- 
ducing butter and cheese, beef and pork marketed, sheep raising and 
wool manufactured domestically; also large quantities of tow cloth made 
from home grown flax. 

There were 5 grain mills, 3 fulling mills, cloth works, 2 carding 
machines, 3 tanneries, 3 mercantile stores, 1 tavern, 1 Congregational 
Society, 2 Baptist Societies, 10 school districts, 1 Social Library, 20 
dwellings on Hampton Hill, and 180 dwelling houses in town. 

The population was 1274, with 22 electors. There were two com- 
panies of militia. 

Taxable property including polls was $37,740. 

There were 2 ministers, 3 doctors, and 1 attorney in town. 

Hampton, incorporated in October 1786, was originally a part of 
Windham and Pomfret, and comprised 25 square miles. 

In 1850 the population was 946. 



NORTH-EASTERN HAMPTON 103 

WE THREE OLD MEN OF HAMPTON 
by Elizabeth Jewett Brown 

Written August 1897, in honor of Patrick Pearl, Wolcott Carey, and 
David Grinslit, life time residents of Hampton. 

We gather in the village store, 
And there relate our early lore, 
And tell the tales of boyhood o'er— 

We three old men of Hampton. 
We bring old scenes to mind again, 
And we forget we're aged men. 
And never more shall see again 

The days we've seen in Hampton. 

We view the changes time has wrought— 
The training days where battles fought 
In mimic war have passed to nought— 

Since we were boys in Hampton. 
For gone are boyhood friends for aye. 
For time has called the roll each day; 
They've mustered silently away— 

The friends we've known in Hampton. 

For faces then are seen no more. 

The same trees bend their branches o'er. 

The sun shines bright as days of yore— 

When we were boys in Hampton. 
We sit in each accustomed seat 
And gaze upon the quiet street 
The bordered walks and houses neat 

As years gone by in Hampton. 

But still the sun shines just as bright. 
The winding roads with trees bedight 
The pond which sparkles in the light 

When we were boys in Hampton. 
We love each hill and fertile glade 
The fairest land God ever made; 
The lanes our infant feet have strayed— 

When we were boys in Hampton. 

And when our earthly race is run, 

And o'er our lives the setting sun 

Has cast its rays, may each and one- 
Be laid to rest in Hampton. 

Laid near the place which gave them birth, 

God's Acre in the fair green earth, 

From Death to Life, the newer birth— 
We three old men of Hampton. 



104 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

Hampton in 1900 was a prosperous farming community that shipped 
milk by train to Boston. Buildings were kept painted and repaired 
with home sawed lumber, from Hyde's Mill at Bigelow. There were 
no modern improvements in homes, but they were comfortable, warmed 
by wood fires. 

Churches were well attended, George Fuller was taking his large 
family of singers to church every Sunday in a big three seated spring 
wagon, drawn up Bigelow Hill by two strong horses. Hampton Church 
would not have been complete without their voices in the choir. 

Rev. Morgan was pastor, and lived in the Albert Mills house. 
There was a large Sunday School, and the annual observance of Chil- 
dren's Sunday, with its crowd of young people and lovely flowers could 
not be forgotten. The beautiful stained glass windows had not then 
been placed in the church. 

All entertainments came through the Grange, church or school. 
Telephones had reached Hampton Hill, and phonographs were coming. 

Young people attended High School in Willimantic, driving "teams" 
to the depot, leaving them in a hitching stable for the day and going 
by train to Willimantic. Six trains stopped daily at Clark's Corner 
and Hampton. 

Rural Delivery came in 1904, and two of the veteran mail carriers. 
Will and Reuben Pearl, are still on the Hampton routes. 

Andrew Rindge was a noticeable character of the nineteen hun- 
dreds not to be forgotten. In poetic wit he chronicled all the highlight 
happenings of the town. Caring little for "style", he drove an old 
sorrel horse and buckboard, with wheels all of different makes and 
sizes. A bean pole with a lash answered for a whip. But alas one night 
when he had "looked long upon the wine" old Andrew was found dead 
in the road near his home. He was the last of the Rindge family who 
once owned a farm on Griffin Road. His home is now owned by Alex 
Marcus. 

Hampton in 1950 is one of the most beautiful towns in the state. 
God did something for Hampton, in rolling hills, valleys and streams, 
that makes us feel— this is our home— it's Hampton. 

Great changes have taken place in 50 years. Many of the old 
colonial homes are now owned by summer people who have carefully 
restored them, and many new houses are being built— not the twelve 
room houses of our forefathers, nor the eight rooms of a half century 
ago, but neat four room cottages, many by veterans. Hampton is be- 
coming a residential town. 

The restoring of the many Hampton houses has been a task of 
great undertaking, as is shown in the home of Dr. Wilfred Pickles in 
north Hampton. When he acquired the Baker farm and began to re- 
store it to its original colonial lines, Dr. Pickles faced a vei^ discouraging 
situation. The house had been moved from its original foundation on 



NORTH-EASTERN HAMPTON 105 

the farm many years before, probably about 1850, when stoves had 
come into use, and colonial chimneys were not valued. The great sum- 
mer trees had been covered with plaster ceilings, making it a "modern 
dwelling." Today the house is fully restored to all its original beauty. 

This is undoubtedly one of the oldest houses in Hampton, the his- 
tory of which we have been able to trace to some extent. This section 
of Hampton belonged to Pomfret before 1786. One of the first twelve 
proprietors of Pomfret was Joseph Griffin. In his allotment of 540 
acres, divided in upland and lowland in different parts of the town, 
he received 256 acres in the south west part of Pomfret, as shown on the 
Lithographic Map, Lamed's History of Windham County. Members 
of the Griffin family settled there at an early date and their home sites 
are shown on the map, on the long discontinued road through the 
Pickles' land. 

Lyman Baker, foraier owner of Dr. Pickles' house was one of fif- 
teen children, and was obliged to go out to work at fifteen years of age. 
In a few years he was able to buy what was then called the Cannon farm. 
He brought his 150 acres up to high cultivation and laid away a sub- 
stantial sum for his old age. He was very thrifty and only if eggs sold 
for less than a cent apiece would he eat one. Only once did he ride on 
a train or visit a city. Then he went to Hartford and to the Capitol. 

Now many former farms are, for lack of cultivation, returning to 
woodland. There are some dairy farms still being highly improved, 
such as those owned by Elmer Stone, W. W. Pearl, Frank Postemski, 
Wilmer Jones, C. F. Merrill, J. J. Donahue, Ray Fuller, Carl Jewett, 
Morton Burdick, Asa Burdick and Alfred Vargas. 

Hampton has a Volunteer Fire Co. and Fire House. In 1949 Hamp- 
ton began construction of a new community school, situated south of 
the Grange Hall. American Legion Post No. 106 is starting work on 
a Legion Home. 

Hampton has 107 children enrolled in Grammar and High School. 
There are 351 voters and 28 miles of improved road. So every house 
in town is on a hard surfaced road. Much credit for the improvement 
of town roads is due to Selectman Carl W. Jewett. 

There is 1 Catholic Church, Rev. Markowicz in charge. The Con- 
gregational Church has Rev. Charles L. Peeples as minister. The How- 
ard's Valley Church holds monthly services during the summer, with 
Rev. Philip J. Cleveland, of Westminster, as supply. 

All passenger train service is discontinued. Hampton sent 19 men 
and women to World War I, and 45 to World War II. 

Stores in town are owned by J. T. Looney and George Meredith; 
garage by Robert J. J. McDermott. 

The 1940 census of Hampton was 535. 



106 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

PINE ACRES FOREST 

One of the notable private improvements in Hampton in the past 
30 years has been the development of Pine Acres Forest, by James L. 
Goodwin, on Route 6, between Hampton Hill and Clarks Corner. 

Planting of the Forest began in 1920. The entire acreage of Pint 
Acres Forest is now 1,710. A beautiful lake two miles long now floods 
the Cedar Swamp section, formed by damming up Cedar Swamp Brook 
near Route 44, adding much to the scenic beauty of the highway. At 
the head of this lake is a small island and bird sanctuary, which was 
once an Indian camping ground. 

Many years ago Pine Acres Hill was known as Moulton Hill, so 
named for an old woman who was believed to be a witch, even that 
she had charmed an immense gray squirrel that ran chattering along 
the road side walls, defying the sharpshooters' skill. 

The first improved highway through Hampton came in 1910, when 
Hampton Hill was got out of the mud, something the present generation 
cannot appreciate. 1949 marked the rerouting of U.S. 6, diverting heavy 
traffic from Hampton Hill village, so that again much of the peace and 
quiet of early days seems to linger there. 



INDEX 
POMFRET SECTION 

Index of Names 



107 



Abbe-^73 

Abbott— 31. 38, 108, 114 

Acquittimaug — 6, 7, 29 

Adams— 35, 91, 114, 152 

Aldrich— 60, 85, 88, 90, 156 

Alho— 38 

Allen— 36, 65, 70, 76, 78, 89, 111, 114, 117 

124, 129, 139, 140, 142, 155 
Allin— 114, Allyn— 114 
Anderson — 88, 89, 92 
Andross — 93 
Angell— 89 
Anthol— 60 

Arnold— 5, 21, 69, 99, 111, 141, 145, 147 
Archer — 51 
Aspinwall— 25, 119 
Atawanahood — 5 
Atwood— 142 

Avery— 35, 99, 101, 102, 114 
AverlU— 44, 51, 76, 77, 78, 79, 81, 127, 141, 

84, 125 
Ayer— 54, 79, 113 



Bacon — 114 

Bachand — 124, 133 

Backus — 41, 81, 95 

Badger— 112, 142 

Baker— 22, 24, 57, 89, 90, 114, 117, 139 

Ballard— 29 

Ballou— 114 

Barber— 67, 69, 84, 114 

Basto — 6 

Bartholomew— 27, 41, 107 

Bartlett^ll4 

Barton— 63 

Baxter— 63, 73, 149, 151 

Beebe — 48 

Belcher— 21, 23, 84, 93, 99, 96 

Benedict — 36 

Benjamin — 124 

Bennett— 5, 38, 90, 134, 155 

Bigelow — 46 

BlackweU— 93, 97 

Blair— 141. 142, 152 

BoUe&-114 

Booker— 111, 125 

Boshworth— 51, 52, 54, 126, 139 

Botham— 65. 66, 92, 141, 142 

Bougols— 146 

Boult— 161 

Bowen— 67, 130, 131, 132 

Bowman— 9, 114 



Bradford— 137 

Bradley— 53, 54 

Brayman — 32 

Brayton— 148 

Breen— 70, 105 

Brigham — ^38 

Briggs— 35 

Brown-Seeley— 9, 10, 131 

Brown— 28, 67, 70 

Brownell— 73 

Bruce— 38, 60, 82, 83, 88, 90, 91 

Bryant — 65, 92 

BuUard— 139, 140, 141 

Burroughs — 75 

Burton— 32, 77 

Bush— 20 

Butler— 8, 10 

Button — 79 



Cady— 93, 112, 114, 126, 142. 152 

Campbell — 43 

Cargill— 25 

Carpenter— 35, 59, 60, 70, 73. 114 

Carson— 35, 70, 73, 159 

Carter— 32, 43, 73, 126. 149 

Chamberlain — 113 

Chandler— 5, 7. 8, 17. 26, 32, 35, 38, 52, 

69. 70. 73, 74, 75. 76. 80, 81. 100, 114 
Chase— 73, 90 
Cheney— 19, 20. 41 
Child— 63, 90 

Clapp— 22, 24. 48, 56, 77. 78. 82, 91 
Clark— 58, 66, 114, 112, 120. 122, 151 159. 

160 
Cleveland— 47, 75, 76 
Colburn — 38 
Colgrove — 84 
Collins — 70 
Congdon — 150 
Cook— 48, 146 
Coomtis— 29, 115 
Cooney — 84 
Cooper— 10 
Copeland — 117 
Corbin— 48, 52 
Cornell — 90 
Cotes— 114 

Cotton— 54, 57, 83, 84, 86, 88, 89, 91, 114 
Covell— 55, 57, 59, 70, 86, 88, 90, 91, 122. 

130, 133, 134, 144. 148 
Craft— 78, 114, 123, 126. 127, 135, 155 
Cress— 117 



108 



FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 



Crochere— 126, 137. 155 
Crosby — 9 
Cudgel— 68 
Cummlngs — 114 
Cunneen — 135 

Cunningham— 65. 112, 133. 155 
Curtis — 90, 92 
Cushing — 57 
Cutler— 101, 160. 166 

Dana— 7. 8. 5. 18. 49, 70. 83. 122, 125, 127 

Danielson — 83 

Darling— 90 

Davis— 32, 41. 60, 79, 131, 160 

Davison — 114 

Day— 52, 54. 80. 92, 141 

Daj^on — 15 

Deming — 28 

Dennis— 10, 22, 82, 125 

Dennison — 52 

Dimmock — 95 

Dirga— 51 

Dixson — 141 

Dodge— 35, 36. 74 

Doran— 121 

Downer — 73 

Downing — 114 

Draper — 145 

Draeger— 113, 135 

Dresser— 8. 28, 48, 59. 

141, 147 
Drown — 155 
Duquette — 156 
Durham — 54 
Durkee — 114 
Dwight— 102, 114, 115 
Dyer— 20, 63, 130 

Eaton— 114 

Edwards— 66 

Eldredge— 35 

Eliot— 4, 20, 135 

Elliott— 21, 48. 89, 131, 141, 145, 149, 150 

156 
Elting— 32 
Erskine— 123 

Pairchild— 32 

Fairfield— 48, 52, 58, 129 

Farman — 114 

Farmington — 10, 117 

Fay— 9, 126. 131. 142, 145, 148 

Feeter— 90. 91 

Field— 51 

Fisher— 41, 47, 90 

Fitch— 6, 18, 26, 28, 30. 69. 93 

Fitts— 32. 35. 38, 91, 156. 159 



69, 90, 114, 139, 



Fling— 114 
FUnt— 126. 127 
Ford— 119 
Freedley — 47. 48 
Frink— 117 
Fuller— 79. 120 

Gallup — 90 

Gardner— 101, 102. 142 

Gary— 47. 98. 112, 115, 144 

Geer— 10, 156 

George — 29 

Gilbert— 51, 78, 85. 122, 125, 133 

Gleason — 91 

Goff— 142 

Golding— 119 

Goodell— 10, 22, 78, 107, 108, 113, 114, 118, 

121, 122 
Goodenough— 52. 54. 80 
Goodhue— 30. 38 
Goodridge— 9. 38, 45, 67. 121 
Gookin— 20 
Gore— 7, 124. 133 
Gould— 135 
Gray— 142 
Greeley — 43 

Green— 22. 28, 29, 41, 160. 163. 114 
Gregg — 114 
Griffin— 7. 8. 17 
Griggs— 19, 22. 108. 129. 137, 149, 151. 

154. 155, 156. 157 
Grimes— 57. 88, 90, 91 
Grosvenor— 7, 8, 21, 30, 31, 32, 35, 37, 38, 

41, 42, 43, 44. 45. 46, 48, 52. 54, 59, 

60, 66, 67, 101, 111, 113, 114, 117, 135, 

138, 139, 142, 143, 160 

Haines — 48, 147 
Hall— 35, 41, 57, 90 
Hamilton — 141 
Hammond— 91, 142 
Hanley— 54, 90, 92 
Harriman — 135 
HaiTington — 90, 92 
Harris— 25, 161 
Harrison — 37, 41 
Haskell— 54, 80, 89. 92 
Hastings — 54 
Hattin— 24 
Hawks— 99. 90 
Haywood — 80 
Hendee — 76 
Henry— 142 
Henneman — 63 
Herrick— 114 
Hibbard— 95 
Hickey— 60 
Hicks— 68 



INDEX 



J 09 



Hide— 23 

Higginbotham — 64, 65 

HUdreth— 57 

Hillinaiin^S, 160 

Hodges— 73. 74 

Hulbrook— 10, 29. 73. 113. 117. 122, 124. 

131. 130, 133. 151 
Holt— 58. 69. 117 
HoHet— 66, 69 
llDlmes— 152. 153 
Horton— 66 
Huoker — 5 

Hopkins— 59, 60, 91. 150 
Hotchkins— 51,73 
Howard— 139 
Howe— 25, 111 
Hubbard— 21, 22. 58, 63. 103 
Humphrey — 58 
Hunt— 81 

Huntington— 137, 146 
Hyde— 91, 92, 143 
Hyland— 162 
Hurdls — 51 
Hutchins-lOB, 129? 

Ingalls— 22, 46. 48, 53, 77, 78, 80, 108, 111. 

112, 113, 114, 117, 118, 119. 120. 121. 

122, 129, 131. 133, 135. 145, 150 
Iselin— 67 

Jacobs — 38 

Jarvis— 57, 83 

Jewett— 106 

Johnson— 6, 44. 51, 57. 91. 118, 145. 162 

Jones — 114 

Jcshua — 5 



Kelly— 10. 13, 54 
Kent— 29 
Keyes— 43, 91 
Kidd— 16 
King— 36 

Kimball— 63, 96, 114 
Kingsbury— 64, 77, 79 
Kingsley— 57, 89 
Knight— 25 
Knowlton — 157 



Lafayette — 66. 95 
Lapsley— 63, 84 
Larned— 108, 112 
Larrow— 57 
Leavens — 27 
Lee-47, 48, 63 
Leffert.s — 45 
LeFort— 82, 148 
Legg— 114 



Levy— 129 

Ligus — 48 

Lincoln— 160 

Lombard — 32 

Longfellow — 146 

Lord— 53, 57. 114, 118. 120, 121, 122, 137. 

155 
Lowry — 27 
Lynn- 90, 91, 92, 108 
Lvon— 8, 9. 10, 45, 47, 67, 69, 113, 126, 129, 

157, 158. 159 

Mabie— 52, 73 

Maclnnes — 57, 83 

Maher— 27, 53 

Makowski — 63 

Malbone— 70, 96, 97. 98, 101, 102, 103 

Malley— 90 

Mandler— 162 

Marcy— 48, 147, 148, 150. 151 

Marsh— 58 

Marshall — 141 

Mason — 5, 74, 111 

Mather — 54 

Mathewson— 35, 43, 44, 45, 80, 101 

May-41, 47, 48 

McClellan— 70, 73 

McKinley — 44 

McLaughlin-^8, 140 

Medbury — 41,47 

Miantonomo — 98 

Moffett— 141 

Moon— 32, 52 

Morey— 67, 123 

Morgan — 10 

Moss— 35, 44 

Moulton— 38, 47, 48, 51 

Mowry — 7, 8 

Mullins— 81, 95 

Murphy — 46 

Murray — 149 

Newton— 80. 114 
Nichols— 80 
Nightingale— 32, 53, 65 
Nikoloff— 29, 41 
Noon— 57, 91 
Norton— 90 
Nye— 142 

Oldham— 5 

Olney— 151 

Olmstead — 45 

Osgood- 21, 32, 48, 81, 114, 117, 120, 129, 

135, 140, 141, 150, 151 
Overell— 63 

Overlook- 32, 40, 57, 58 
Owaneco — 6, 7. 28 



110 



FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 



Page— 142, 157 

Paine— 38, 68, 75, 118, 123, 125, 135, 137 

Palmer— 91, 92 

Parks— 46, 94, 95, 160 

Paukku— 142 

Pay son — 124 

Peal— 80, 114, 128, 143, 141, 149, 151, 153 

Pease— €0, 83 

Peck— 44, 68, 73, 130 

Pellett— 94, 95, 126, 155 

Pepper — 46 

Perkins— 38, 82, 83, 84, 88 

Perkola— 22 

Pero — 97 

Perry— S8, 89 

Perrin— 28, 29, 41, 73, 89 

Peterson — 38 

Phillips— 20 

Pierpont — 67 

Pike— 9, 10, 54, 114, 117 

Planchon— 32, 160 

Platt^73 

Pope— 102 

Porter— 36, 44, 82 

Potter— 23, 70 

Potvin— 114, 162 

Pratt^54 

Prentice — 91 

Prescott— 63, 64 

Putnam— 32, 35, 36, 37, 38, 41, 42, 44, 53, 
58, 63, 70, 81, 83, 97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 
102, 103, 104, 105, 106, 118, 121, 130 

Quanto— 63, 64 
Quigley— 16, 73 

Ramsdell— 124 

Randall— 23, 24, 38, 66, 67 

Raphael — 121 

Read— 108, 114 

Record — 41, 47, 48 

Reynolds— 63 

Rice— 92 

Rich— 92, 118, 138 

Ritchard— 84 

Ripley— 108, 111, 135, 137, 139 

Robbins— 91 

Robinson— 32, 35 

Robison — 19 

Rochambeau— 66, 95, 101 

Rogers— 120 

Rondeau — 160 

Roosevelt— 70, 101, 105 

Rovirke— 10 

Rowley— 134, 146 

Ruggles— 7, 8, 9, 10, 18, 81, 111. 117, 126, 

126 
Ryan— 48, 51, 7?, 81 



Sabin— 7, 8, 9, 15, 18, 19, 25, 26, 27, 30, 31, 

32, 38, 41, 46, 47, 48, 54. 80. 107, 108 
Saltonstall— 114, 123, 138 
Sanger — 114 
Saunders — 32 
Sawtelle— 58, 59, 60 
Sawyer— 60, 83, 114 
Scarborough — 103 
Searles— 38, 63 
Seifert— 124 
Sessions— 8, 10, 48, 69, 77, 81, 111, 129, 

130 
Sharp— 7, 22, 44, 51, 73, 75, 76, 80, 81, 99, 

111, 112, 113, 114, 119, 141, 142, 145, 

146, 150, 152, 153, 154 
Shaw— 30, 38, 43, 46, 76, 114, 137 
Shepard — 58 

Sherman— 10, 129, 131, 137, 156 
Shippee — 91 
Sitton— 8, 10, 13 
Slattery- 32 
Smedley— 148 
Smith— 31, 32, 68, 92, 108, 111, 113, 129, 

141, 147, 149, 155 
Spence — 114 
Spicer— 90 

Smutnick— 21, 145, 150 
Soule — 138 

Spaulding— 31, 32, 90, 94, 145 
Stearns — 114 
Stebbins— 80, 82, 148 
Stedman — 74 
Stetson— 94 
Stevens — 108, 160 
Stoddard— 73, 141, 151 
Stone— 57, 114, 151 
Stowell— 114, 129, 130, 135 
Stratton— 92 
Stromberg— 129, 130, 140 
Strong — 45 
Sumner— 53, 112, 114, 131, 138, 139. 140, 

141 
Swain— 142 
Swazey — 142 
Sweeting— 36 

Taft— 69 

Tarr — 41, 47 

Taylor— 65, 117 

Thompson— 32, 41, 52, 53, 141 

Thornton— 112, 117, 123 

Tibbitts— 70. 126 

Toomey— 163 

Tourtelotte— 91 

Tracy— 108, 181 

TrftSfiG^~*l 14 

Trowbridge— 9, 10, 32, 73, 117, 137, 158 

Truesdell— 22, 23, 107 



INDEX 



Trumbull— 37, 74 
Tryon— 104 
Tucker— 129 

Tyler— 22. 70. 101. 102. 103, 104. 105 

Uncas — 5 

Underwood— 57, 88 
Upton— 16 
Utlev— 158 
Utter— 93, 94 

Valentine— 22. 58, 6?. 88, 86. 162 
Vanderbeek — 44 
Van Haagen — 121 
Vaughn— 90 
Vinton— 46, 151 
Vose— 114 

Waight— 23 

Waldo— 21, 41. 44, 47. 48. 57, 58, 74. 101, 

114, 154 
Walton— 21, 57 
Wannemetonomie — 98 
Warner— 122, 123, 124 
Warren— 63, 84 
Washington— 37, 42. 58 
Wason — 114 
Weaver— 35, 126, 137 
Webb— 54, 57, 90, 92 
Webber— 24 
Webster— 10, 65. 75 
Weeks— 129, 130, 141 



Weld— 114, 123 

Werrlll- 29 

West— 158 

Wetherbee— 158 

Wheaton— 21, 38, 60, 69, 119 

Wheelock— 35, 75 

Whipple— 91 

Whistler— 46 

Wliite— 7, 8, 32, 57, 90. 91, 117. 129. 141, 

154 
Whitehouse— 125 
Whitmore — 141 
Whitney— 80, 103, 105, 114 
Wicks — 45 

Wiggins— 32, 41, 46, 74 
Wilcox— 60 
Wilkinson— 25, 26 
Wilks— 74 
Williams— 10, 12. 18, 19, 23, 31, 32, 35, 41, 

42, 44, 57, 58, 60, 63, 70, 80, 83, 85, 

100, 102, 105, 129, 153 
Willis— 91 
Willits— 108. 139 
Wing— 41 
Winslow— 146 
Winthrop— 8 
Wood— 90, 92, 96 
Wright— 80, 92 



Young— 84, 90, 91 
Zeller— 54, 162 



112 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 



Index of Illustrations 

Abington and Elliotts 1 116 

Abington and Elliotts 2 127 

Abington and Elliotts 3 128 

Abington Center 110 

Abington Church 109 

Abington Common in 1880 133 

Abington Fourcorners 115 

Abington Parish Church Oine cut) 132 

Brooklyn Center 71 

Elliotts 134 

Elliotts Station 144 

General Lyon Memorial 157 

Jericho Section 143 

Mortlake (line cut) 93 

Dxen, Pair of Title Page 

Pomfret and Abington 72 

Pomfret Center and Pomfret Landing 162 

Pomfret Center 1 and Route 44 49 

Pomfret Center 2 50 

Pomfret Center 3 55 

Pomfret, including Ragged Hill 39 

Pomfret Landing 1 56 

Pomfret Landing 2 61 

Pomfret Landing and North Brooklyn 62 

Pomfret 4, Route 44, Gary District 40 

Pomfret Street 1 33 

Pomfret Street 2 and Route 93 34 

West Pomfret Center 11 

Wolf Den 13 



INDEX 



i:5 



HAMPTON SECTION 



Index of Names 



Abbot— 19, 37 

Abbey— 19 

Adams — 16 

Albro— 72 

Alexander — 79 

Andross — 9 

Apley— 70 

Andre — 57 

Avery— 39, 40, 91, 96 

Ashley— 17, 19, 38, 41, 43, 65 

Arnold— 30 

Averill— 19 

Auchmuty — 35 



Cochue — 40 

Cocking— 70, 71, 72 

Coe— 70 

Colt— 16 

Comins— 71 

Congdon— 72 

Colburn— 2, 4, 19 

Converse — 39 

Craft— 91 

Crates — 2 

Crocker — 19 

Curtis— 12, 13, 59, 67, 68, 71 

Clark— 19, 45, 105 



Babcock— 19, 69 
Baker— 104, 105 
Bannister — 39 
Barber— 58, 69 

gogg 91 

Bennett— 30, 43, 45, 59. 60, 61, 62, 69, 80 

Billings— 14, 17, 18, 19 

Bidlack— 6, 12, 18, 19, 27, 37 

Bingham— 60, 66 

Blanchard — 19 

Brewster — 39 

Braney — 70 

Bradford— 90 

Brown— 59, 78, 103 

Burdick— 105 

Burrows — 59 

Burnham— 13, 30, 43, 45, 59, 62, 69. 70, 

102 
Bushnell— 12 
Button— 12, 19, 75, 76 
Byrne — 38 



Cady— 2, 9, 10, 46, 47, 85, 87, 97 

Calkins— 9, 89 

Canada— 2, 3, 4, 5, 7. 8, 19, 73. 101 

Carson — 58 

Carey— 103 

Cary— 101 

Cates— 2, 9, 10 

Chandler— 40, 42, 58 

Chase— 91 

Chaplin— 95, 96 

Cheddle— 30 

Chester— 69 

Clark— 30, 34, 59, 87, 88, 105 

Cleveland— 40, 41, 42, 43, 49, 73. 76. 105 

Cleverly — 91 



Dana— 37 

Deming— 45 

Denison — 59 

Etter— 64 

Donahue — 105 

Dorance— 37, 53 

Eninham — 39 

Durkee— 17. 19. 29, 36, 37, 39, 59, 65, 92 

Edes— 91 
Eggelston — 82 
Eldredge — 70 
Elliott— 72, 99 
Esterbrooks — 16 
Evans — 7 
Elderkin— 64 

Farnham— 5, 6, 13, 19. 29. 30, 38, 43. 44, 

66, 69, 73, 76 
Famum— 5, 6, 29, 30 
Pavill— 76 
Fish— 60 
Fisk— 2, 42, 60, 70 
Fitch— 2, 59 
Follette— 60, 62, 63 
Ford— 19 
Fox— 43, 75 
Franklin — 44 
Puller— 6, 13, 19, 29, 30, 36, 37. 43. 44. 57. 

59, 65, 66. 69, 70, 72, 73, 74, 75. 76. 101 
Pline— 19 
Poster— 76 

Gardner— 14, 39, 69 
Gary- 98 
Garnett — 57 
Goodwin— 106 



114 



FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 



Greensllt— 55, 59, 66, 69, 70 

Griffin— 23, 29, 33, 55, 57, 69, 70, 104, 105 

Griggs— 66 

GrinsUt— 103 

Grow— 96, 97, 98 

Harvey— 44, 66 

Hazen— 39 

Halkins— 59 

HaU— 99 

Harris— 69 

Hammond— 22, 29, 30, 44, 48, 59, 70, 77 

Hasting— 65, 67 

Hawks— €7 

Haywood — 59 

Hendee — 19 

Hibbard— 70 

Hoffman— 39 

Holt--l, 19, 43, 55, 56, 59, 65, 69, 100, 101 

Hoston — 59 

Hovey— 6, 12, 17, 18, 19, 29, 36. 39 

Hough— 95 

Howard— 4, 14, 29, 38, 43, 59, 65, 67, 69, 

71, 72, 96 
Hughes — 39 
Humes — 67, 68, 71 
Huntington— 39, 68, 69 
Hutchinson — 91 
Hurlburt— 69 
Hyde— 53, 164 
Houlton — 39 

Ingalls— 67, 69 
Ingersoll — 92 

Jameson — 37 

Jennings — 19, 45 

Jewett— 5, 7, 28, 36, 39, 43, 44, 45, 46, 51, 

52, 74, 87, 88, 101, 102, 105 
Jones — 105 
Joshua — 1, 28 

Kennedy — 6, 8, 9, 
KimbaU— 33, 57, 71, 77, 79 
Kingsbury— 14, 19, 57, 59 
Kemp — 43 



Marcus — 104 

Marko wlcz — 1 05 

Martin— 19, 87 

Malborne— 44, 76 

Marsh— 19, 30, 87, 40 

McDermott — 105 

McLaughlin— 43, 68 

MerriU— 105 

Miller— 71 

Mills— 104 

More — 3, 4 

Morgan — 104 

Mosley— 18, 21, 22, 23, 24, 26, 27, 28, 31. 

32, 33, 44, 48. 49, 50 
Moulton— 2. 4 
Munn — 57 
Morse — 84 

Neff— 68 
Newton — 96 
Nichols — 66 

Olds— 70 
Oliver— 87, 91. 92 
Owaneco — 3 

Parker— 19 

Paine— 26 

Pearl— 7, 19. 29, 43. 44, 45, 46. 98, 104 

Peeples— 105 

Perkins— 37, 100 

Pete— 64 

Peters— 34, 35, 37, 60, 63 

Philetus — 69 

Phillips — 5 

Pickles— 104, 105 

Pierce — 37 

Poliski— 4, 43, 73 

Popple— 67 

Postemski — 99 

Potter— 39 

Potterton — 71 

Preston— 19, 100 

Price — 43 

Purdie— 59, 53 

Putnam— 28, 73, 80, 93, 92. 94 



LaseU— 10 

Lafayette — 57 

Lambert — 6 

Lasalle — 19. 59 

Lawson — 59 

Lewis — 1 

Lincoln — 75 

Utcbfleld— 4, 5, 32, 53. 54. 55 

Looney— 105 

Lyon — 53 



Ransom— 37 
Robinson — 77 
Ringe — 104 
Ripley — 39. 59 
Rockwell — 74 
Ross — 95 



Sampson — 57 
Sanford — 69 



NDEX 



Sanderson — 12 

Scripture — 19 

Searles— 69 

Septimus — 69 

Sessions — 30 

Shaw— 2, 4, 19, 25 

Shurtliff— 57 

Simons — 99 

Sisson— 30 

Skinner— 4, 71, 72 

Smith— 30, 45, 73, 91 

Snow— 12, 69. 76 

Soule— 55 

Spaulding— 69, 70 

Spencer— 39. 40, 70 

Sprague — 7 

Stanford— 69 

Stedman— 27. 29. 55. 56, 57. 58. 61 

Stone— 97, 105 

Starkweather — 71 



Teach-^6 
Tingley— 69 
Thompson— 29, 53, 81 
Tracy— 2 
Thomas — 57 



Van Buren— 88 
Vargas— 54, 105 
Varnum — 105 
Vinigrad— 70 

Walcott— 71 
Warren— 19, 39 
Warner— 39, 59 
Washington— 56 
Waters— 59 
Weaver— 8, 101 
Weeks — 54 
Welsh— 43 
Weld— 98, 100 
Wells— 91 
Wendziersky — 43 
Whiting— 16. 17 
Whittaker— 12, 13 
Whiton— 37 
Willis— 19 

Williams— 16, 26, 37, 53 
Wilks— 69, 89 
Wilson— 46, 100 
Woodward — 77 
Woodard— 19, 77 
Wright>— 64. 83 



Uncas — 3 
Utley— 19. 29, 60 



116 



FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 



Index to Illustrations 



Bigelow — 4a 
Clark's Corner — 72a 
Hampton Street — 8a 
Hampton Hill — 24a 
Hemlock Glen— 72a 



House The Women Built— Title Page 
Howard Valley — 56a 
North Hampton — 24a, 72a 
Northeast Hampton — 24a 
South Bigelow — 40a, 56a 



Index of Names in Illustrations 



Abbott— 56a 
Ahern — 8a 
Angelott — 8a 
Archer — 24a 
Ashley— 40a, 72a 
Avery — 40a 

Baker — 24a 
Bates — 8a 
Beers — 56a 
Bennett — 8a, 56a 
Bishop— 72a 
Borell— 56a 
Brayman — 8a 
Brown — 8a, 24a, 56a 
Burdick — 24a 
Burnham— 24a, 56a. 72a 
Button — 8a 

Cady — 40a 
Canada — 40a 
Cannon — 24a 
Carey — 8a 
Gary — 40a 
Chick— 56a 
Clapp— 24a, 72a 
Clark— 8a, 72a, 56a 
Cleveland — 8a 
Cochue — 24a 
Congdon — 24a 
Copeland — 24a 
Court — 8a 
Cumins — 56a 



Darby — 24a 
Davis — 8a, 24a, 72a 
Dennison — 24a 
Denny — 24a 



Dobberteen — 72a 
Dorrance — 8a 

Edmonds — 8a 
Eldredge— 56a 
Engels — 40a 
Evans — 40a 

Farnum — 8a, 24a, 40a, 56a 

Fitts — 8a, 40a 

Foster — 8a 

Fox — 40a 

Fuller— 24a, 40a, 56a 

Greeley — 72a 
Greenman — 40a 
Griggs — 56a 
Grinslit— 8a, 40a. 56a 
Grow — 24a 
Guild^Oa 

Hammond — 8a, 72a 
Harvey — 56a 
Hastings — 8a, 56a 
Hibberd— 8a 
Hickey — 24a 
Hoffman — 72a 
Holt — 40a, 56a 
Hughes — 8a, 24a 
Hyde— 164 

Jackson — 40a 
Jacobsen — 72a 
Jewett — 40a, 56a, 72a 
Jones — 24a 

Kenyon — 24a 
Koski — 56a 



INDEX 



117 



Lackenbauer — 40a 
Lamantls — 56a 
Levecque — 40a 
Litchfield— 8a 



Marcus — 24a 
Marsh — 8a 
Martin — 24a 
Mathews — 8a 
McAlpine — 56a 
McLaughlin — 56a 
Merrill— 40a 
Metcalf— 24a 
MUler— 72a 
Mills— 8a 
Miner — 40a 
Mosley — 8a, 24a, 40a 
Murphy — 40a 

Neff— 24a 
Nichols— 56a 
Nigrelli— 24a 
Nosworthy — 8a 
Nye — 24a 

Osbom — 56a 
Ostby — 40a 

Parks — 40a 
Pearl— 8a, 24a 
Perillo— 72a 
Pickles— 24a 
Plourde — 72a 
Polom — 24a 
Postemski — ^24a 
Potter — 72a 



Potterton — 56a 
Preston— 24a 

Rindge — 24a 
Robinson— 72a 
Rockwell— 72a 
Rodriquez — 40a 
Rogers — 56a 
Rout- 72a 
Ruddy — 8a 

Scott— 56a 
Searls — 56a 
Shaw — 56a 
Smith— 56a 
Snow — 56a 
Soule — 8a 

Spaulding — 40a, 56a 
Spicer — 24a 
Starkweather — 56a 
Stedman — 24a 
Stensland — 40a 
Stone — 8a, 24a 
Street — 8a 
Styert — 40a 
Sweet — 8a 

Tenney — 40a 
Thompson — 40a 
Tiley— 40a 

Utley— 24a 

Weaver — 40a 
Whiteside— 56a 
Whiting-40a 



118 FOLKLORE AND FIRESIDES 

Chapters 

I The Joshua Tract. David Cannda, 

II Windham Village 1713 (Canada Parish). Chelsea Inn. 

III The First Ordination. Member.^ of First Churcli. 

IV Rev. Samuel Mo.sley's Pastorale. 1734-1791 First Schools. 

V During and After the Revolution. 

VI Hampton Doctors. Governor Cleveland. Descendants of Old Families. 
Jewett and Pearl Families. A Pirate Story. 

VII The House the Women Built. Appropriated a Mile-Stone for a Grave-Stone. 
The Haunted House. 

VIII North Bigelow— The Litchfields. Capt. James Stedman-Hemlock Glen. The 
Bennetts. The Frogs of Windham. 

IX Fuller's Inn, "The Old Ball", Domestic Bliss a Century Ago. Later Industries 
in Howard's Valley. The Congdon Place. Tom Smith Place. Governer 
Cleveland Homestead. 

X Stories of Hampton by Joel Fox. 

XI Windham County Hurricanes. Windham County Characters. 

XII Clark's Corner. Liberty Pole. Connecticut's Stamp Rebellion. 

XIII North-western Hampton. North-eastern Hampton. 

XIV Rev. Ludovicus Weld. Pine Acres. Holt Family Cedar Swamp Brook. 

Varnumites. 



INGALLS PRINTING COMPANY 
DANIELSON. CONN. 



ADDITIONS and CORRECTIONS 

TO 

^Tolklore and Firesides 

of Pomfret, Hampton 

and Vicinity^* 



Following the publication o£ the first 
edition of "Folklore and Firesides of Pom- 
fret, Hampton and Vicinity," new informa- 
tion was obtained which I feel will be of 
interest to the reader. 

Therefore, the following pages give the 
reader additional information not incorpo- 
rated before. Pictures not obtainable pre- 
viously, as well as data which had not come 
to the writer's knowledge, are added to give 
as complete a picture of the life and times 
in eastern Connecticut of that era. 

Susan Griggs 



Pomfret 



EXCERPTS FROM THE WINDHAM COUNTY TRANSCRIPT 
DURING THE CIVIL WAR 

FEBRUARY 13, 1862 

Putnam's Wolf Gun— The editor of the Pawtucket, R.I. Gazette 
says he has been made custodian of the gun with which Gen. Putnam 
killed the wolf in the den at Pomfret. It is an old Tower musket and 
bears the English coat of arms. This gun is the property of Mr. Samuel 
T. Mallery of Central Falls, in whose family it has been for many years. 

A Pennsylvania girl, who has been serving as a soldier in the Army 
of the West for ten months, says she has discovered a great many females 
among the soldiers, one of whom is now a lieutenant. She has assisted 
in burying three female soldiers at different times, whose sex was un- 
known to any but herself. 

Another call on Windham County— Mr. Jerome Tourtelotte, one 
of the three months volunteers, who has just returned from the seat of 
war, has under the authority of Gov. Buckingham, opened a recruiting 
office in this town, for the purpose of forming a Windham County Com- 
pany for the 7th Connecticut Regiment. Several of the members of the 
2d and 3d Regiments will return to Washington with him. 

Major Burton has opened an office for the same purpose in Daniel- 
sonville. 

OCTOBER 9, 1862 

Besides those who are exempt from military duties under the United 
States and State laws, the law of Moses exempts another class. We find 
it in Deuteronomy, 24th chapter, 5th verse, the following statute: "When 
a man hath taken a new wife, he shall not go to war, neither shall he be 
charged with any business; but he shall be free at home one year, and 
shall cheer up his wife which he has taken." 

OCTOBER 30, 1862 

Putnam— A box containing the annexed articles was last week for- 
warded to the Connecticut Soldiers Relief Association at Washington by 
the Putnam Soldiers Aid Society:— Twenty-five new shirts, 6 old shirts, 
19 pairs of new drawers, 38 towels, 3 dozen handkerchiefs, 9 pairs of 
pillow-cases, 3 sheets, 1 pair pants, 1 piece of fly-netting, 3 cans jelly, 1 
bag dried raspberries, 1 bag whortlebeiTies, 1 bag dried apples, 63 pam- 
phlets, 1 cake mutton tallow, 9 pounds lint, 10 wrappers, 1 pair socks, 
21 fans, and a lot of bandages. 

Pomfret raised her needed men by volunteering. We hope Scotland 
has done likewise, and then we shall be able to say that not a conscript 
has left Windham County. 

(Evidently there had been a draft on the Monday previous.) 



NOVEMBER 6, 1862 

A released prisoner from Richmond, who says he was on board the 
Merrimac No. 2, reports that vessel is thoroughly and heavily clad with 
iron, and is in every way a tough customer. She has been completed 
about a month, and has made several trips to Fort Darling. She has as 
yet but one gun on board, but the other guns for her were all ready. 
The machinery works well, and she can easily make eight miles per hour. 

Thomas Stewart, aged ninety-two years, of East Newton, Ohio, was 
a private in the 101st Ohio Regiment, and took part in the battle of 
Perryville, where he was complimented for his bravery and soldierly dar- 
ing. He has four sons, two grandsons, and three sons-in-law at present 
in the army. He was born in 1770, at Litchfield, Conn., where his father 
now resides, aged one hundred and twenty-two years. 

AUGUST 27, 1863 
TEN COMMANDMENTS TO SOLDIERS' WIVES 

I. Thou shalt not put on important airs because thy husband re- 
ceives thirteen dollars a month, with clothes and rations, nor because 
thou, thyself receivest a nice little sum from the State; nor shalt thou 
whine and pine thyself pale at thy husband's absence, but thou shalt 
bear all thy sorrows and perplexities with a patient and womanly manli- 
ness. 

II. Thou shalt not spend thy husband's bounty money for finger 
rings and other brass trinkets and flumydiddles to adorn thyself, nor for 
confectionary; nor to ride on the cars when thou hast nothing to ride for, 
nor accordeons and jewsharps, but thou shalt buy with much prudence 
and only what is useful to thyself or the children, and lay by some till 
thy husband's return. 

III. Thou shalt love thy country, but thou shalt love thy husband 
better, and wish him a safe return, and always remember that husbands 
will be scarcer after this war. 

IV. Thou shalt not gad as a tattler and tell Mrs. Hornblower more 
than you know because she promises she sartin wont tell on't, nor make 
any calls till thou hast washed and combed the children and thyself; 
but moreover thou mayst join the knitting society and work diligently 
to furnish clothes for the needy soldiers all through the cruel winter. 

V. Thou shalt behave thyself with discretion towards all mankind, 
especially such as have black mustaches, gold finger rings and smooth 
speech; thou shalt not take oyster suppers with them, nor shalt thou al- 
low their fair speech or arch looks to turn thy head or thy heart lest 
shame come upon thee. 

VI. Thou shalt anticipate thy husband's return with the loss of 
a limb, or an eye, and be a cripple for life; thou shalt treasure up much 
love for him; thou shalt cherish, honor and respect him all the days of 
his life. 



VII. Thou shall not fret thyself because thovi dost not receive let- 
ters from thy husband as often as thou thinkest meet; nor shaft thou bur- 
den him in thy epistles with any imaginary ills of thyself or children; 
thou shalt not let tears fall on them (especially of the crocodile genus); 
thou shalt cheer and encourage him, now and henceforth. 

VIII. Thou shalt not buy Wood lottery tickets. 

IX. Thou shalt not go to balls nor dancing schools, nor envy those 
who ride in costly vehicles drawn by fine horses; nor shalt thou go to the 
circus to see the elephants and bipeds. 

X. Thou who art unmarried shalt act soberly; thou shalt write 
long and cheerful letters to thy betrothes; thou shalt comfort and en- 
courage the mother or wife of the deceased soldier. 

PAGE 37. 4th paragraph. The festivities on the occasion of the rais- 
ing of the mansion were notable, particularly when an Indian delighted 
the crowd by dancing on the ridgepole, not as stated on the occasion of 
George Washington's visit. 

RUGGLES k DENNIS FAMILIES, CONT. FROM P. 125-POMFRET 

"Edward Ruggles purchased ... 98 acres of land for ninety-eight 
pounds." 

Apparently the only tavern ever kept on the King's Highway to ac- 
commodate the traveling public was built by Edward Ruggles, who 
settled in Pomfret in 1723. The large old tavern house was purchased 
by Asa Dennis about 1800, and stood until 1850. According to Dennis 
tradition, the old Darn Man often rested by the fire place in the tavern 
kitchen. (See Darn Man, page 80, Hampton). The tavern barns stood 
many years after the present dwelling, home of Col. E. B. Dennis, U.S.A. 
was built. 

The Dennis family came from Portsmouth, R.I. They, the Clapps 
and the Congdons were Quakers, and were among the founders of the 
little Quaker Church of Pomfret. We learn from Col. Dennis that Rhode 
Island History states that General Prescott, after his capture, was brought 
to Pomfret, where he was held until exchanged for General Lee. Also 
that Joseph Dennis of Portsmouth, R.I., ancestor of Col. Dennis, was one 
of the forty men who took part in Prescott's capture. This seems one in- 
stance, at least, where a Quaker took some part in a war game. (Our 
R.I. neighbors, Pomfret, page 63.) 

PAGE 146. Date of the Samuel Dresser homestead was 1793. The 
survey of Abington. 

Parish Line passes directly through the house. 

PAGE 154 Continued. 

Pomfret was 40 years old when Nathan Griggs, yeoman, of Roxbury, 
Mass., purchased 91 acres of land in south west Pomfret, Jan. 18, 1737. 
Windham Road (Route 97) and the King's Highway were well traveled 




fTrn 









V 










wmm§ 

** « s fill ill 



p. B. PELLETT, PAGE 134 GRIGGS-PELLETT-DROWN HOMESTEAD 
Owned and restored by Mr. and Mxs. Harold Cunningham, of Elliott. 

1. House as it was before 1900. Captain Pellett and members of Pellett family 
in foreground. 

2. Surveyor's map of 1847, showing house as purchased by Captain Pellett. 
Map now in possession of Mrs. Cunningham. 



through what is now Abington. James Iiigalls' tavern was serving the 
traveling public (page 111) and William and Abigail Sharp had lived 
15 years at the foot of Easter Hill (page 152). 

The little meeting-house on Pomfret Hill had a large congregation 
not only of pious elders, bvU of young people who had an eye on each 
other. The long rides on horseback to and from meeting were ideal for 
young friendships, and Sunday night was courting night, as the Sabbath 
began at Saturday sundown. Thus our genealogy records the marriage 
of Nathan Griggs and Elizabeth Sharp, daughter of William and Abigail 
Sharp, in 1740, a southwest Pomfret romance. 

Nathan Griggs had been resident in town three years in 1740, three 
busy years clearing a homesite and making ready the timbers of his 
dwelling. His 91 acres was very desirable because of its large tract of 
grass land, and uplands heavily wooded with American Hackamatack, 
from which boards and paneling as wide of 30 inches was cut. When all 
was ready, and the chimneys and foundations built, came house raising 
day, when the town folks turned oiu to raise the roof and, with coopera- 
tion, to enclose the walls. It was the work of a lifetime to finish a house, 
and seldom were partitions set before occupancy. 

Nathan and Elizabeth Griggs' eldest child, Nathan, Jr., was born in 
1741. Many years the little wooden cradle stood by the hearth, as they 
had seven children. It was customary for the mother's high post canopy 
bed to be in the kitchen as it was the warmest room, and under it by 
day was kept the trundle bed for the small children. 



PAGE 155. GRIGGS-PELLETT FARM CONTINUED. 

We regret to say that the date 1836 given for this house is erroneous. 
Following the history of an old house is always an adventure, and has 
been particularly so in the case of the Griggs-Pellett-Drown house. It 
passed to the ownership of Geo. Drown in 1892. After the death of his 
wife he lived alone by choice, until in January 1950 he was found dead, 
as so often happens. 

This fine old house standing in the curve of the road was steadily 
going into decay, and when finally acquired by his nephew, Mr. Harold 
Cunningham, of Elliott, it was found to have been one of the very old 
houses of the town. From Town Records we find that Capt. Francis 
Pellett bought the property of Captain Elijah Griggs (War of 1812) 
in 1844. He had married the Captain's daughter, Sally, and there reared 
a large family of children. A lookout in the attic is understood to have 
been a relic of Capt. Griggs' time. 

A surveyor's map of 1847 gives a drawing of the house as it appeared 
then. A reproduction on the opposite page shows that it originally had 
three stories and an attic. Since the house is but 18 ft. stud the ceilings 
were very low, as in all early dwellings. Note the planked north end and 
roof. 

It was Capt. Pellett that "modernized" the house. Brick replaced 
the big stone chimneys, altho the stone foundations were kept. Two 



floors with very high ceilings replaced the three floors, but the wide 
colonial paneling remains, with seven fine old fireplaces, iron door latches 
and square rooms with decorated hand painted walls. 

On the wall in the upper hallway is a painted shield or emblem, 
also the date 1792, which might indicate when the walls were plastered. 
Although the crest is now dim, one can distinguish the red and white 
of the shield and the outline of the eagle and stars. A penny, dated 1798, 
was found when the old ell was torn down, possibly commemorating the 
date of the laying of the hearthstone. 

It is tradition that Hessian soldiers working for their keep after the 
Revolution painted flowers and murals on colonial walls. Among old 
newspaper files we find an account of the Battle of Trenton where Wash- 
ington took many Hessian prisoners who were amazed at the generosity 
of Washington, who sent them off with their baggage packs unsearched. 
They called him "a good rebel." 

On a rafter is inscribed "Saint Patrick's Day, Mar. 17, 1749, George 
I. Dace." This is the first instance we have found where a Saint's Day 
was noted in a Puritan home. Probably Dace, longing for his native 
land, risked the anger of his employer to mark the day. 

A large white granite sink has been found, turned bottomside up 
and used as a doorstone. The sink is of the type used by pioneer settlers, 
and the granite probably came from Cat Den Ledges in Pilfershire. 

The kitchen fireplace is unusually large, with a twelve foot hearth- 
stone. It is tradition that logs for the fire were drawn in with a horse, 
entering by the west door and out through the south door, before the 
house was remodeled. A well near the south door, drawn by bucket and 
well sweep, furnished water for the house. 

PAGE 156. Second paragraph. The law requiring a man to own land 
in order to become a voter went out of existence with the coming of 
Democracy. Hitherto a man, by marriage, could acquire his wife's prop- 
erty and become a voter. 



ADD TO INDEX— POMFRET 



Index of Chapters 



Page 
I. Connecticut — Pomfret — Tradition of Captain Kidd. An Historic Field. 
Rev. Ebenezer Williams, Abel Cheney Pioneer Mill Site. North Wilt- 
shire. Baker Hollow. 16 

II. Cargill Falls. Pomfret Factory 1796. John and Benjamin Sabin. 

Nathaniel Gary. Perrin. 25 

III. Pomfret's First Century. Spring Farm. Second Minister and Church. 30 

IV. Thomas and Ebenezer Grosvenor. Washington's Visit to Pomfret. 
First P.O. and Grocery. Benjamin Grosvenor. J. A. Porter Place 
1750. Mathewson Family. Pomfret School. Private Schools. Arthur 
Grosvenor Homestead. 37 

V. Medbury Homestead — Gary District. George Record Home. Louise 
Chandler Moulton. Bride of Goat Rock. Tyott Road. Dr. Overlook 
House. Pomfret Library and Clubs. Pomfret Physicians 1738-1948. 
Blizzard of 1888. Walter Davis House. 47 

VI. Our R. I. Neighbors and Gen. Prescott. Lost Village of the Hills. 
Jonathan Randall. Cunningham (Goodridge) Mansions. Wheaton. 
Cud Corner. Geo. Taft. Chandler Families. Wolf Den House. Aver- 
ills. Nathaniel Kingsbury. 60 

VII. Pomfret Town House and Industries 1840. James Sawyer. Bruce 
Place. Cottons. Pomfret Landing. Pomfret 1810. Williams-Mclnnis 
Places. Brick Steamers. Quinebaug River. Kingsley Family. Charles 
Aldrich. Turnpikes. (Foundry on the Kings Highway). 

VIII. Mortlake 1685. Kings Highway. Col. Malbone. Israel Putnam. Church 
Controversy. Lexington Alarm. Mortlake House 1778. Unitarian Con- 
troversy. 93 

IX. West of Mashamoquet. Abington. Goodell. Ingalls. Abington's Honor 

Roll 1775. Silk Industry. James Ingalls. Goodell Tavern House. 107 

X. Abington's First Physician. Abel Clark Tavern. Families of Craft, 
Allen, Ruggles, Griggs, Sumner, Stowell, Holbrook, Sessions and 
Covell. 120 

XI. Abington Parish. First Minister. Abington Four Corners. Wolf Den 
Grange No. 61. Abington Library. Toll Gate House. Frog Rock. Fay 
Family. 132 

XII. Samuel Dresser. Acadian Children. Marcy Family. Osgood and Elliott 

Families. 146 

XIII. Families of Sharpe, Hutchins, Griggs, Pellett. Pomfret-Eastford Line. 152 

XIV. General Lyon. Pomfret in 1863. Pomfret 1950. Pomfret's Nativity 
PlAy. 155 



p.: 





Old Goodell Homestead, on the Kings Highway. See Page 107. 

West of the Mashamoquet — Abington. From an ancient drawing owned by 
Miss Adrianna Hutchins. 



Hampton 



H^dS!*^^ 




n 




1. W. Chapman. Purchased by Elijah Button in 1816, burned in 1932. Mr. 
Button was the last of the rugged men of Hampton who went west to Colorado, 
Nevada, Idaho and Utah in the great Gold Rush of the 1850's, making the trip 
twice with oxen and covered wagon, swhnming his teams across the Mississippi. 
Making his last return trip at the beginning of the Civil War, he had one of 
his two horses and saddles confiscated by the Confederacy. 



The Button family of Connecticut descended from Mathias Button, who settled 
at Salem in 1628 and died in Haverhill, Mass., at a great age. His son, Daniel, 
was killed at the battle of Bloody Brook, in Deerfield in 1675, and his daughter, 
Mrs. Hannah Dustin, was considered "the bravest woman of pioneer days" be- 
cause of her escape from Indian captors. 




Map — J. Grinslit. The Howard's Valley home of Mrs. Mary Grinslit, 
widow of J. Grinslit, when she married Elijah Button after his return from the 
Gold Rush. When she died, he married Miss Mary Stone of Howard's Valley 
and moved to the north end of the town. John Braney, an Irish emigrant, pur- 
chased the place in 1876. Like many others, he had come to work on the rail- 
roads, and then bought the little old farms left untilled after the Civil War. 
Mr. Braney could neither read nor write, and Mrs. Braney, who lived to a great 
age, dated herself by saying she was 15 years old at the time of the Great Wind 
in Ireland (1849). During the many years they resided there they were some- 
times accused of selling unlawful liquor, but nothing was ever found on the 
premises. Years later a secret closet was found behind the stone chimney, which 
the law had always failed to discover. Of their two sons, Mike and Pat, Pat al- 
ways remained at home, was blind in later life, yet traveled the old dirt high- 
ways with unfailing accuracy, and recognized a neighbor by the sound of his 
team. Mike Braney became a successful business man in Providence. 



ADDITION TO PG. 94-&, PICTURES OP WESTMINSTER 

1. Map — Pellett Tavern. 1719. Not standing. Later owned by John Parks, 
tavern Keeper, who in 1769 gave 4 acres land for meeting-house site, burial 
ground and common. 

2. Map — Church. Westminster Meeting-house as it was before the Hurricane 
of 1938, when it was badly damaged. Now restored, it is enjoying a remarkable 
period of religious activity, through leadership of Rev. Philip J. Cleveland. 
Probably the only Congregatioiial Church in the state to have a golden cross 
on the tower, which cross represents the blending of ci'eeds ahd nationalities 
into one large congregation. 

3. Map— Mrs. Carter. This very old house still stands in the fork of the 
Scotland-Hampton roads. Westminster's first post office in 1836, Peter Spicer, 
postmaster. Long owned by Mrs. Wood, a descendant. 



4. Westminster Common, old sign post, and dwelling of parish's first phy- 
sician, Dr. Rufus Johnson. Only foundation of burned dwelling remains. 



^ 1 .*\~- -.^-\ 



!• 



^« ^ 



M 



l»l 



%» 




CORRECTIONS & ADDITIONS - HAMPTON 

I'he oxen on the frontispiece were owned by George Nichols of 
Hampton. 

Page 2. Of the early Canada settlement of 1708, a few cellar holes 
remain to mark these pioneer homes, last occupied by colored families, 
which gave the name to the locality of "Little Africa", its early history 
being quite forgotten. Recently Mr. Morton Burdick of North Hamp- 
ton purchased 50 acres of land in this historic section, the road to which 
has long been closed. There are upland meadows where the houses 
stood, and low lands where tall cedars grow. From the swamp land flows 
a brook that carried water power for a dam, built by the pioneers, still 
in good condition. This is land owned by Edward Colburn on the 
Hampton-Canterbury town line (page 4). With water power to saw their 
timber and grind their corn for bread, the little settlement was a unit 
within itself. Fred Colburn of Pomfret is a direct descendant of Edward 
Colburn, pioneer. 



Refer to Page 132, No. 4— Elliott's second school house was built in 1885- The 
first teacher was Miss Ella Sharp, of Hampton. 

Refer to Page 117, No. 5 — House owned by Samuel Rich. 




TWINE MILL, POMFRET LANDING 

The mill was built early in 1800 about the time the Hartford and Providence 
Pike went through. It stood until the hurricane of 1938, and had long been 
operated as a grocery by Horace Covell, brother of the late Willis Covell, also 
as post office and grist mill. 




fc^,/i*^ 



i-^'- : ._, ^■^;^^'S6.'^-.'-^l^-■ 



THE POMFRET LANDING SCHOOL HOUSE 

It is located about 300 yards from the home of Adolph Jarvis (Jockey). 
This house was formerly owned by A. S. Bruce and i£ one of the oldest in 
the country. 






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OLD POMFRET LANDING BRIDGE 




PUTNAM SQUARE, PUTNAM, CONN. 
"Horse and Buggry Days" 



Ingalls Printing C 
Danielson, Conn 




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